Like the anthology Killer Fiction: 11 Short Stories of  Killers, Fixers, and P.I.’s  the anthology does not waste time with an introduction of some type.  While the Killer Fiction anthology had a decidedly noir bent in style, A Woman’s Touch- 11 Short Stories of Murder and Misdemeanors anthology is much more on the cozy side of reading with some stories being very predictable for seasoned mystery readers.


This anthology published by Sniplits Publishing in 2010 opens with the very talented Libby Fischer Hellman. Larry and Marge Falls took the trip to Vegas in “House Rules” because Marge desperately wanted to do something new and different. But the trip is not going well and the side trip to Red Rock Canyon hasn’t helped. It’s time for change.


Momma was almost always “Crazy” in this story by Laura Hartman. That was hard back in 1956 and that was before Daddy went missing.


Miles Archer follows with his story, “Never Kill a Cat.”  Dolores is elderly and has four cats in her home as her companions. When one of her cats is murdered and hung in her tree, Dolores has a very good idea who did it and how to handle things.


The strange return of a relative who was supposed to have died long ago is the focus of “Aunt Charlotte” by Courtney L. Mroch.  It was June in Tennessee when the car showed up while Ashley Beth was reading on the porch. The lady says she is Ashley Beth’s Aunt Charlotte.  The same woman who supposedly died before Ashley Beth was born thirteen years ago. Lies have been told and that isn’t all as Aunt Charlotte is in real trouble.


Marianne Crone comes next with her flash fiction tale  “Victory” where not listening can get you dead. Are you listening?


The last thing you want in the restaurant you own is a dead man.  Even worse is the fact it was murder.  In “A Feast for Fools” by JoAnne Lucas a local radio host is dead and this is not the kind of publicity they needed at all.


Lerone Johnson testified against a neighbor boy, a gang banger, and now she is very scared in
“Do the Right Thing” by Karen Burgess.  The gang banger got off and now Lerone and her daughter are in serious danger. Good thing she knows Detective Kathy Martinez who is going to help. She should since she was the one to convince Lerone to testify in the first place.


Libby Fischer Hellman is up again with her story “The Murder of Katie Boyle.” Katie Boyle apparently had been perfect in nearly every sense of the word.  At least she had been perfect while she was alive. Now she is very much dead and stuffed in a closet of her own workout studio on North Shore of Chicago. Elle Forman found her and also knows a few things that might help investigators, Officer Georgia Davis and Detective Matt Singer.


Denise Dietz follows with her story “Annie’s Blue Christmas” where Annabelle Lee knows the news from doctor won’t be good. A terminal disease can be liberating in so many ways for so many people.


“Pyro” by Tracie McBride is a tale where Julie is more than a little sick of her drunken boyfriend Ralph. First he shows up, makes a mess of things, and then passes out in her bed loudly snoring and stinking to high heaven. At least when the next knock on the door happened she wasn’t asleep. This time it was the police telling her Ralph’s car was burning in front of her house.


The final story is “Ants” by M.M. De Voe. The ant on the kitchen counter was a life changer-at least in the mind of one person.  It is a sign and one that has to be acted upon.


The 11 tales that make up the A Woman’s Touch anthology vary tremendously in writing styles, characters, and situations. All eleven are stories that tend toward the cozy side of things and all are comfortably good. Nothing here pushes boundaries or will shock readers. These are well done stories that often unfold in fairly predictable ways for seasoned mystery readers.


A Woman’s Touch- 11 Short Stories of Murder and Misdemeanors

Sniplits Publishing

September 2010



Material supplied by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

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