Review: Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense by Sarah Weinman

August 22, 2013 Crime Fiction, Penguin, Review, Short story 4

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (August 27, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0143122541
  • Source: Publisher

We’re all familiar with modern bestselling crime fiction authors like Gillian Flynn and Tana French, but before them were a host of trailblazing women writers who paved the path for others like them. In Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense, Weinman, an authority in crime fiction, showcases fourteen stories from women who set the stage for today’s female crime fiction authors.  Each story focuses on a wide range of women who have turned to the dark side, spurned by anger or abuse (or, in some cases, pure insanity).

It wasn’t until the launch of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in 1941 that female crime and suspense writers had a venue for publishing their work, in a world dominated by fame writers. After given this opportunity, these women flourished, many receiving Edgar nominations and going on to writing bestselling novels.

Ranging from the 1940s through the 70s, these women wrote short stories about the darker side of domestic tranquility.  From well-known authors like Patricia Highsmith and Shirley Jackson to many lesser known authors, Weinman not only showcases the stories written by these progressive women authors, but also provides a foray into their lives, describing how many of them had first-hand experience of the chilling stories they portrayed. The majority of these stories, while many are over six decades old, stand the test of time and continue to send a chill down readers’ spines these many years later.

What is most remarkable about this anthology is the timing. Female crime fiction authors are at an all time high in popularity thanks to novels like Gone Girl.  Weinman’s intent in publishing this anthology is not only to remind us all of the women who came before but also to detail the evolution of women crime writers, showing just how far women writers in this genre have come. The future is limitless, given the sheer volume of brilliant female suspense writers out there.

A truly inspiring and simultaneously chilling anthology, Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives is a must read for fans of crime fiction, a book that will have a permanent home in my library. Highly, highly recommended.

Interested in learning more about the authors showcased? Visit the anthology’s companion web site, Domestic Suspense.

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