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by Faye Kellerman
Warner Books, August 2006
336 pages
ISBN: 0446530395

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

THE GARDEN OF EDEN AND OTHER CRIMINAL DELIGHTS is a collection of 17 short stories by Faye Kellerman, writer of the best-selling Rina Lazarus-Peter Decker mystery series.

Four of the stories deal with her famous couple as in the short, The Garden Of Evil, where Rina's new obsession, gardening, begins to take over the house. It's a hobby she shares with her next-door neighbor, an elderly woman who winds up dead in her garden, leaving a mystery about a missing $20,000. It's up to Peter and Rina to find out the truth.

Then there's Bull's Eye a story dealing with Peter's daughter Cindy. While Cindy's a police recruit, a much-hated instructor is shot in front of her and Peter's daughter tries her own hand at solving that homicide.

A real estate open house mystery has a dead body and some clues that is assigned to Peter in Open House and A Woman Of Mystery concerns a student of Rina's looking for her history, only to bring up a terrible secret from World War Two.

Kellerman has her children as co-writers in two simple stories. She also uses a fictional base as a narrative of four generations of women that echo Kellerman's own family. Two other pieces are memoirs by Kellerman, one telling of the time her mother was mugged and how Kellerman reacted, and the charming story, Summer of My Womanhood, where Kellerman talks about her teen years and her relationship with her father as she worked with him in the family deli.

There's also more than a few tales of evil and murder, from the depths of moral depravity of an adopted girl and her twisted relationship with her parents in Bonding to the humorous and dark Mr Barton's Head Case, which includes a talking car and gun.

Adding to the reader's enjoyment is a short introduction by Kellerman, giving some background on the ideas and the writing of each work.

Though some of these tales are extremely different from the morally positive Rina Lazarus-Peter Decker mysteries, all are written well and will give the readers something substantial to think about. I hope Kellerman will get to publish more of her short stories.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, August 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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