Good Reading : October 2005
crime fiction word of mouth Cyanide Wells Marcia Muller She’s been called the founding mother of the contemporary female private eye novel. In 1977 – five years before Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky wrote the first books in their pioneering series – Marcia Muller published Edwin of the Iron Shoes, the debut of her own gutsy female gum- shoe, Sharon McCone. Muller’s work has never really received the kind of attention given to her better-selling peers, even though her mysteries are written in a strong, reflective and hard-edged voice that makes them equals to Grafton’s and Paretsky’s. Over the years, however, Muller has had her own steady following, and if you aren’t already a fan, this book, her second stand- alone mystery, may well persuade you to join their ranks. When Matthew Lindstrom’s wife Gwen disappeared he was accused of her murder, and although he was never for mally charged his life was ruined. Fourteen years later, after an anonymous phone call which tells him that Gwen is alive and where she is, Matthew travels to the little Califor nian backwater of Cyanide Wells, looking for answers and revenge. Only a veteran writer such as Muller could introduce her main character in a few pages and make us, as she does here, as eager to accompany Matthew on a quest that has as many twists and tur ns for him as the roads that lead to his jour ney’s end. ★★★★★ Warner Books $16.95 Reviewed by Christine Cremen The Serpent on the Crown Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody is such a delight- fully for midable, take-charge kind of character that she has even bossed around her creator. Elizabeth Peters says that when she first began her series of Egyptian murder mysteries back in 1975, she never intended to write about a late- Victorian female amateur detective who was a cross between Miss Marple and Indiana Jones. Over the years, though, these novels have proved so successful it’s unlikely that Peters regrets how Amelia ultimately tur ned out. A big part of their appeal comes from the authenticity of the background: Peters is an Egyptologist who has also published a number of non-fiction books on this subject. The cast of characters in these stories has grown considerably throughout seventeen books – Amelia and her friends’ children now have children of their own, who take tur ns in playing their part in each new adventure – but the nar rative essentially remains the same, which seems to be what her fans want. In this latest historical thriller, set in 1922, Amelia and her extended family investigate the death of the owner of an ancient gold statuette which is said to be cursed. ★★★★ Constable $49.95 Reviewed by Christine Cremen • MACQUARIE DICTIONARY Unabridged • MACQUARIE THESAURUS with over 200,000 synonyms • MACQUARIE SPELLCHECKER with 100,000+ words. Powerful PC Productivity Tool FREE 30-day trial Visit www.wordgenius.com.au NEW For more information: Tel: 1300 889 978 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Compatible with all MS Windows applications. Quick and easy to install and extremely FAST to use. Priced at less than half the cost of the books. Substantial discounts available for multi-user licences. GREAT VALUE Macquarie WordGenius Reference Library - the ultimate reading and writing PC productivity tool.