An initiative of the American Library Association

May Picks from Sisters in Crime: Short Stories

By Shari Randall

Celebrate Short Story Month with Sisters in Crime

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone to a book club meeting without having finished the book. We’ve all been there – the demands of family and work can steal away precious reading time. Sometimes there isn’t time for more than a chapter or two of even the most engrossing novel.

May I suggest a short story break? Short stories were once a staple of the literary scene – for decades, magazines from Saturday Evening Post to Esquire featured short stories in their pages. But short doesn’t mean short on drama or impact – who can forget the effect of the tales of Edgar Allan Poe or Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery?

Try a story from one of the collections below and you may find a new favorite author. In our 24/7, hyperlinked world, a short story – the perfect length to read in a doctor’s waiting room or during a subway ride – will fit easily into your packed schedule. I’ve asked the authors to tell us a little about their work. Enjoy!

The Cambodian Curse & Other Stories

By Gigi Pandian

A treasure trove of nine locked-room mystery short stories, including Agatha Award-winning “The Library Ghost of Tanglewood Inn” and new novelette “The Cambodian Curse.” When an ancient and supposedly cursed Cambodian sculpture disappears from an impenetrable museum, and the carving’s owner is killed by an invisible assailant while a witness is a few feet away, historian Jaya Jones and her old nemesis Henry North team up to solve the baffling crime.

With an Introduction from Laurie R. King addressing why we love locked rooms, and a Foreword from impossible crime mystery historian Douglas G. Greene delving into the tradition of John Dickson Carr explored in these stories, this collection is filled with ingenious stories of magic, mystery, and history. – Gigi Pandian

Click for Discussion Questions.

Visit the Author's Website.

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

By Barb Goffman

This book features fifteen short stories, half of them nominated for national mystery-writing awards (with one winner), involving revenge, comeuppance, and the search for justice. Some of the stories are dark while others are humorous. Some are whodunits, others show crime from the culprit's perspective. They all explore how people act when their backs are to the wall--under stress, underappreciated, and underestimated.

One Amazon reader said this book has "clever tales with sneaky twists, which make it a great read.” The stories make readers laugh. Sometimes they make readers cry. They all will make readers think and feel. – Barb Goffman

Editor’s note: Goffman has been nominated for national mystery writing awards 25 times and has also won the Agatha and Macavity awards.

Click for a Discussion Guide.

Visit the Author's Website.

Sisters in Crime Los Angeles Presents LAST RESORT, an Anthology of Crime Stories

Edited by Matt Coyle, Mary Marks, and Patricia Smiley, with an introduction by Michael Connelly

The misdeeds and downfalls of characters drawn to the cultural panoply that is Los Angeles…

The sun-kissed city of high hopes and second chances, where everyone seems to be from somewhere else. A siren’s call to dreamers, misfits, mystics and freaks, lost souls and purveyors of sin. They roll in on their last tank of gas, their suitcases bulging with secrets of pasts better forgotten. They stay for a few days, a month, a year, a lifetime. The determined and the desperate, careening and colliding toward trouble, and their last resort.

Last Resort, a Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles anthology, includes stories by Avril Adams, Paula Bernstein, Lynne Bronstein, Stephen Buehler, Sarah M. Chen, Anne David, Gay Degani, L.H. Dillman, Wrona Gall, Cyndra Gernet, Georgia Jeffries, Melinda Loomis, GB Pool, Laurie Stevens, Wendall Thomas, and Mae Woods.

--Georgia Jeffries and Laurie Stevens

 Down & Out Books, 2017

On The Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories

By Art Taylor

Del’s a small time crook with a moral conscience—robbing convenience stores only for tuition and academic expenses. Brash and sassy Louise goes from being a holdup victim to Del’s lover and accomplice. All they want is a fresh start, an honest life, and a chance to build a family together, but fate conspires to put ever-steeper challenges in their path—and escalating temptations, too.

On this cross-country road trip, each stop delivers the reader into a different adventure. A real estate scam in recession-blighted Southern California. A wine heist in Napa Valley. A Vegas wedding chapel holdup. A kidnapping in an oil-rich North Dakota boomtown. As the journey unfolds, each story samples in turn from a variety of subgenres and tones, from screwball comedy to domestic drama, and from caper tale to traditional whodunit, mixing suspense with a side of romance. – Art Taylor

 Editor’s note: In addition to winning the Agatha Award for Best First Novel for On the Road with Del & Louise, Taylor has won three additional Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, two Macavity Awards, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction.

Visit the Author's Website.

Link to Discussion Questions

Where Crime Never Sleeps

By the New York/Tri-State Sisters in Crime

What is the essence of the New York experience? A stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge? A concert at Carnegie Hall? Crossing the finish line at the New York Marathon? A trip to the Bronx Zoo? Or any one of these—plus murder? These seventeen stories by members of the New York/Tri-State Chapter of Sisters in Crime, with a foreword by Margaret Maron, explore the mystery and mayhem that lurk in every corner of the most unpredictable, irrepressible, inimitable city on the planet.

These short stories will let you be a tourist, a New Yorker, a murderer, and crime solver. The stories range from suspenseful to humorous, linked by their NYC setting. – Nina Mansfield

Visit the Authors's Website.

Bloodshot and Bruised: Crime Stories from the South and West

By Travis Richardson

A boy makes a series of bad decisions after his father bans him from reading books, a Jewish family is forever changed when a boy with a Neo-Nazi background is thrust into their lives, a man’s epic downfall is narrated through a beer ad, an arthritic grandmother hopes to serve justice to an untouchable, evil sheriff, and a heavy-metal rocker’s life takes a radical turn during the 1992 LA riots. These are just a few of the stories in this blistering collection about crime, retribution, and the fragile humanity that survives tragedy. In these stories, , including Derringer finalists and Anthony and Macavity nominees, pathos and humor mix to create a complex portrait of Americans under pressure.

Delving into the dark heart of America, this collection should provoke discussion with its vivid look into crime as it happens and the ability (or inability) of its characters to make it to the other side. With its diverse characters, settings, and plots, the stories are sure to strike a chord with the members of any book club. – Travis Richardson

Click for a Discussion Guide.

Visit the Author's Website.

Fishy Business: The Fifth Guppy Anthology

Edited by Linda Rodriguez

Killer hooks and fishy characters will lure you into this fifth anthology from the Guppies Chapter of Sisters in Crime. This volume nets you twenty-two crafty capers featuring slippery eels, wily sharks, and hard-boiled crabs. From ultra-modern computer crimes to old-fashioned confidence tricks, these tales are sure to satisfy your appetite for great short mystery fiction.

Rather than a collection of stories by one author, this anthology allows 22 different writers to introduce or showcase their work to new audiences. The eclectic nature of the stories insures that there's something for every reader's taste. – Lida Bushloper

Wildside Press, 2019

Shari Randall is the author of the Lobster Shack Mystery series. Curses, Boiled Again, her debut mystery, won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. She enjoys being the Library Liaison for Sisters in Crime because it combines two of her passions: libraries and writing.

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  1. […] American Library Association’s Book Club Central has just announced its May Picks from Sisters in Crime—celebrating May as Short Story Month—and I’m so pleased to have my book On the Road With […]


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