Crippen & Landru Publishers, $19.00, 240 pages
The Murder in the Stork Club is a collection of mystery novellas by Vera Caspary, a 1940s writer more known for her screenplays, especially for her adaptation of her novel Laura. The selections include Stranger in the House, Sugar and Spice, The Murder at the Stork Club and Ruth. Three of the four stories have World War II as a backdrop complete with men in uniform and in one case, espionage on the home front. The fourth is more of a psychological thriller—a couple playing mind games with each other that leads to murder. Each is an exploration of the reasons behind the crime, not just a whodunit.
Mystery lovers should read this book if only to see the vast difference in writing styles and life styles between the 40s and today. The rich with their long meandering speeches and the detectives and cigarette girls with their terse one-line answers, Caspary immerses you in the time period like no modern writer ever could. Her writing is full of the non-PC references no one would dare include today. Her stories include unexpected twists and a challenge to discover the criminal. They are definitely for the thinking reader.
Reviewed by Jodi M. Webb