Women on the Case

New York: Delacorte and London
Virago, 1996.

ISBN: 0440223253

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Women on the Case

Women’s work is never done, as this brilliant and diverse collection eloquently demonstrates. Sara Paretsky presents women’s stories of crime and punishment on a global stage, with voices known and unknown at home and abroad. Familiar crime turf in America and England is expanded to Algeria, Russia, Germany, and South America. From wicked irony and white-collar crime in Amanda Cross’s “The Baroness” to the chilling “Only a Woman,” Algerian writer Amel Benaboura’s English language debut, here is a chorus whose individual voices celebrate women today—taking us from private eye purgatory to vacationer’s paradise, from the mean streets of despair to gilded hell in consumer heaven.

Ruth Rendell, Elizabeth George, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Antonia Fraser, Sara Paretsky, and Linda Barnes demonstrate their keen insight into the twisted byways of the human mind. Liza Cody’s character races toward plastic surgery—and oblivion—in her desperation for a fresh face and an empty mind. Russian author Irina Muravyova, appearing in English for the first time, shows what powers women may call on in order to survive. Likewise Nancy Pickard’s private eye, Angela Fopeano, who is between “A Rock and a Hard Place,” dying of breast cancer and living with a client who has returned from the dead. And who knows what’s “Beneath the Lilacs”? Nevada Barr’s museum curator finds out as she digs too deep for lies…

Eleanor Taylor Bland’s Asian-African college instructor plunges into a murder mystery to help unearth the truth of her own past…even as Susan Dunlap’s dead-eye P.I. returns from purgatory to solve a case. Fittingly, Linda Grant’s English teacher turns to Shakespeare to find her sister’s killer — with a tragic twist. Here indeed are Women on the Case, from favorite sleuths Jemima Shores, Carlotta Carlyle, V.I. Warshawski, and Andrea Smith’s newcomer, Chicago Detective Ariel Lawrence, to wives, mothers, lawyers, politicians, writers, trained assassins, and more, in twenty-six takes that plumb the depth and breadth of a woman’s art.

Reviews and Quotes
Those stories impress twice—not merely because they are good but also because they were written to order, which means the authors could not sit around waiting for inspiration to strike.
— Richmond Times -Dispatch

No lazy summer weekend should be without a fat book of short stories and for crime fans, this collection is perfection. Sara Paretsky is one of American crime fiction’s finest and most serious authors and, in her previous collection, A Woman’s Eye, also proved herself a brilliant and astute editor. Women on the Case is if anything, even better. Paretsky has mixed older writers—Ruth Rendell, Dorothy Salisbury Davis—with newer ones like Nevada Barr and Frances Fyfield. Paretsky also includes some excellent works from little-known writers and introduces some new voices. There’s a lot of youth and excitement in this collection and, in every way, there’s something for every taste and every interest.
— Toronto Globe & Mail