Cover image for A moment on the edge : 100 years of crime stories by women
A moment on the edge : 100 years of crime stories by women
George, Elizabeth.
Uniform Title:
Crime from the mind of a woman.
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2003], 2002.
Physical Description:
xviii, 540 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published under the title: Crime from the mind of a woman: Hodder & Stoughton, 2002..
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6120.95.D45 C73 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PN6120.95.D45 C73 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN6120.95.D45 C73 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Whether the story is a murder mystery, a tale of suspense, a psychological study of the characters affected by a devastating event, a courtroom drama, a police procedural ... the question remains the same. Why crime? Why exists this fascination with crime and why, above all, exists this fascination with crime on the part of female writers?
-- Elizabeth George

In A Moment on the Edge, bestselling author Elizabeth George has selected a stunning collection of twenty-six crime stories from some of the best practitioners of the genre, who also happen to be some of the most successful women writers of our time.

These shocking and compulsively readable stories are arranged chronologically, starting with the classic "A Jury of Her Peers" by Susan Glaspell (1917). Also included are stories by Golden Age mystery writers Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh, and New Golden Age author Sara Paretsky, as well as selections by writers outside the genre, such as Shirley Jackson, Nadine Gordimer, Antonia Fraser, and Joyce Carol Oates.

Collectively these stories illustrate how crimefiction -- especially that written by women about women -- has changed in the last hundred years. As Elizabeth George notes in her introduction, "All of these authors share in common a desire to explore mankind in a moment on the edge. The edge equates to the crime committed. How the characters deal with the edge is the story."

This is a must-have anthology for aficionados of crime fiction.

Author Notes

Elizabeth George was born on February 26, 1949, in Warren, Ohio. She received a bachelor's degree in education from the University of California in Riverside and a master's degree in counseling/psychology from California State University at Fullerton. She taught English in high school for about thirteen years before leaving to become a full-time writer. She is the New York Times and internationally best selling author of twenty British crime novels featuring Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his unconventional partner Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers. Her novel, A Great Deliverance, won the Anthony Award, the Agatha Award, and France's Le Grand Prix de Literature Policiere in 1989. Her crime novels have been translated into 30 languages and featured on television by the BBC. She is also the author of a young adult series set on the island where she lives in the state of Washington. Her title's include Edge of Light, The Edge of the Shadows, The Edge of the Water, I, Richard, and The Punishment She Deserves.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Well known for her Inspector Lynley series, George here collects short mysteries by women, bracketing the 26 entries with two tales about the death of abusive husbands, written more than 80 years apart. Between them springs an entertaining assortment of locked-room murders, theatrical whodunits, white-collar-crime and detective stories, and psychological puzzlers, each headed by revealing author notes. Agatha Christie, praised by George in the volume's enlightening introduction, isn't represented, but her contemporaries in the Golden Age of Mystery in Great Britain are: Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, and Margery Allingham. Dorothy Davis, Charlotte Armstrong, Minette Walters, and Ruth Rendell are here as well, and sleuths Sharon McCone, Jemima Shore, and V. I. Warshawski, each one now a star of her own long-running detective series, make appearances. Here, too, are writers not associated primarily with the genre, including Joyce Carol Oates and Nadine Gordimer, whose tragic tale about the consequences of an interracial affair in South Africa is both mystery and political fiction. From start to finish, a first-rate anthology. --Stephanie Zvirin Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Crime is mankind on the edge... stepping out of the norm," Elizabeth George writes in the introduction to her anthology A Moment on the Edge, a wide-ranging collection of crime stories by 20th-century British and American women. Perennial favorites (Dorothy L. Sayers, Marcia Muller) mingle with more mainstream writers (Joyce Carol Oates, Nadine Gordimer). Arranged chronologically, the volume includes sterling examples of both British stories a la Agatha Christie and distinctively American tales, such as Susan Glaspell's stark story of frontier misery, "A Jury of Her Peers," which heads the collection. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In her lively, informative introduction to this collection of 26 stories, mystery author George (A Place of Hiding) ably defends the oft-maligned genre of crime fiction. Starting with Susan Glaspell's "A Jury of Her Peers" (1917), the chronological arrangement gives the reader a feel for the evolution of crime fiction over the past century. George includes selections by classic mystery writers (Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh); popular contemporary crime writers (Sara Paretsky, Marcia Muller); women writers not generally considered crime writers (Nadine Gordimer, Joyce Carol Oates); and lesser-known writers whose tales are among the strongest in the collection (Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Carolyn Wheat). One could quibble with several omissions (P.D. James, Sue Grafton), but George's popularity will ensure fan interest and perhaps introduce readers to some unfamiliar women writers. For most public libraries. Jane la Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



A Moment on the Edge 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women A Jury of Her Peers Susan Glaspell When Martha Hale opened the storm-door and got a cut of the north wind, she ran back for her big woolen scarf. As she hurriedly wound that round her head her eye made a scandalized sweep of her kitchen. It was no ordinary thing that called her away -- it was probably further from ordinary than anything that had ever happened in Dickson County. But what her eye took in was that her kitchen was in no shape for leaving: her bread all ready for mixing, half the flour sifted and half unsifted. She hated to see things half done; but she had been at that when the team from town stopped to get Mr. Hale, and then the sheriff came running in to say his wife wished Mrs. Hale would come too -- adding, with a grin, that he guessed she was getting scary and wanted another woman along. So she had dropped everything right where it was. "Martha!" now came her husband's impatient voice. "Don't keep folks waiting out here in the cold." She again opened the storm-door, and this time joined the three men and the one woman waiting for her in the big twoseated buggy. After she had the robes tucked around her she took another look at the woman who sat beside her on the back seat. She had met Mrs. Peters the year before at the county fair, and the thing she remembered about her was that she didn't seem like a sheriff 's wife. She was small and thin and didn't have a strong voice. Mrs. Gorman, sheriff 's wife before Gorman went out and Peters came in, had a voice that somehow seemed to be backing up the law with every word. But if Mrs. Peters didn't look like a sheriff 's wife, Peters made it up in looking like a sheriff. He was to a dot the kind of man who could get himself elected sheriff -- a heavy man with a big voice, who was particularly genial with the lawabiding, as if to make it plain that he knew the difference between criminals and non-criminals. And right there it came into Mrs. Hale's mind with a stab, that this man who was so pleasant and lively with all of them was going to the Wrights' now as a sheriff. "The country's not very pleasant this time of year," Mrs. Peters at last ventured, as if she felt they ought to be talking as well as the men. Mrs. Hale scarcely finished her reply, for they had gone up a little hill and could see the Wright place now, and seeing it did not make her feel like talking. It looked very lonesome this cold March morning. It had always been a lonesome-looking place. It was down in a hollow, and the poplar trees around it were lonesome-looking trees. The men were looking at it and talking about what had happened. The county attorney was bending to one side of the buggy, and kept looking steadily at the place as they drew up to it. "I'm glad you came with me," Mrs. Peters said nervously, as the two women were about to follow the men in through the kitchen door. Even after she had her foot on the doorstep, her hand on the knob, Martha Hale had a moment of feeling she could not cross the threshold. And the reason it seemed she couldn't cross it now was simply because she hadn't crossed it before. Time and time again it had been in her mind, "I ought to go over and see Minnie Foster" -- she still thought of her as Minnie Foster, though for twenty years she had been Mrs.Wright. And then there was always something to do and Minnie Foster would go from her mind. But now she could come. The men went over to the stove. The women stood close together by the door. Young Henderson, the county attorney, turned around and said, "Come up to the fire, ladies." Mrs. Peters took a step forward, then stopped."I'm not -- cold," she said. And so the two women stood by the door, at first not even so much as looking around the kitchen. The men talked for a minute about what a good thing it was the sheriff had sent his deputy out that morning to make a fire for them, and then Sheriff Peters stepped back from the stove, unbuttoned his outer coat, and leaned his hands on the kitchen table in a way that seemed to mark the beginning of official business. "Now, Mr. Hale," he said in a sort of semi-official voice, "before we move things about, you tell Mr. Henderson just what it was you saw when you came here yesterday morning." The county attorney was looking around the kitchen. "By the way," he said, "has anything been moved?" He turned to the sheriff. "Are things just as you left them yesterday?" Peters looked from cupboard to sink; from that to a small worn rocker a little to one side of the kitchen table. "It's just the same." "Somebody should have been left here yesterday," said the county attorney. "Oh -- yesterday," returned the sheriff, with a little gesture as of yesterday having been more than he could bear to think of. "When I had to send Frank to Morris Center for that man who went crazy -- let me tell you, I had my hands full yesterday. I knew you could get back from Omaha by today, George, and as long as I went over everything here myself --" "Well, Mr. Hale," said the county attorney, in a way of letting what was past and gone go, "tell just what happened when you came here yesterday morning." Mrs. Hale, still leaning against the door, had that sinking feeling of the mother whose child is about to speak a piece. Lewis often wandered along and got things mixed up in a story ... A Moment on the Edge 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women . Copyright © by Elizabeth George. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from A Moment on the Edge: 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women by Elizabeth George All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Elizabeth GeorgeSusan GlaspellDorothy L. SayersNgaio MarshShirley JacksonCharlotte ArmstrongDorothy Salisbury DavisMargery AllinghamNedra TyreChristianna BrandNadine GordimerRuth RendellJoyce HarringtonMarcia MullerAntonia FraserSara ParetskyNancy PickardKristine Kathryn RuschSharyn McCrumbBarbara PaulCarolyn WheatWendy HornsbyJ. A. JanceLia MateraGillian LinscottJoyce Carol OatesMinette Walters
Introductionp. xi
A Jury of Her Peersp. 1
The Man Who Knew Howp. 27
I Can Find My Way Outp. 45
The Summer Peoplep. 75
St. Patrick's Day in the Morningp. 93
The Purple Is Everythingp. 119
Money to Burnp. 133
A Nice Place to Stayp. 147
Clever and Quickp. 161
Country Loversp. 177
The Irony of Hatep. 189
Sweet Baby Jennyp. 207
Wild Mustardp. 229
Jemima Shore at the Sunny Gravep. 241
The Case of the Pietro Andromachep. 279
Afraid All the Timep. 309
The Young Shall See Visions, and the Old Dream Dreamsp. 327
A Predatory Womanp. 349
Jack Be Quickp. 363
Ghost Stationp. 399
New Moon and Rattlesnakesp. 417
Death of a Snowbirdp. 437
The River Mouthp. 459
A Scandal in Winterp. 475
Murder-Twop. 505
English Autumn--American Fallp. 533