Reviewing Short Stories: Three Anthologies From Sisters In Crime

Jul 6, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

This week we have reviews of three Sisters in Crime anthologies-Deadly Southern Charm a Lethal Ladies Mystery anthology from Sisters in Crime Central Virginia Chapter edited by Mary Burton and Mary Miley, Fatally Haunted from the Los Angeles Sisters in Crime Chapter edited by Rachel Howzell Hall, Sheila Lowe, and Laurie Stevens, and Fishy Business: 22 Tales of Murder and Mayhem by the Rising Stars of Mystery the fifth Guppies Chapter anthology. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all three anthologies. There are also a links to purchase them Amazon.

With a cozy book, the reviewer usually gives a quick view of the setting, the theme of the book, a glimpse of the characters, and who got dead. There are a number of suspects and the main character has over 250 pages to figure out who did it.

A short story is a compact version. It takes only minutes to read, handy for when you’re waiting for a food order, to get a haircut, or are stuck in the pickup lane in front of school. Due to the reduced length, to tell as much as with a book, would give away the whole story. Suffice it to say, the short stories in the three anthologies were chosen from hundreds of submitted stories to find the best writing, the tales that work together, and those that will bring enjoyment to the readers. It’s a great way to find new writers and the tales they create.

Sisters in Crime is an organization that supports writers just starting out as well as seasoned authors. Their mission is to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers (men may join, too). Find out how to become a member HERE.

Deadly Southern Charm, a Lethal Ladies Mystery anthology from Sisters in Crime Central Virginia Chapter
and edited by Mary Burton and Mary Miley with guest authors, is a collection of eighteen short stories, averaging about ten pages each, all with a Southern theme and a twist. Ranging from a chance meeting in the airport to a mourning jewelry store or an antique shop, the bodies are piling up, all with just cause, of course. There’s an old-time tea shop or a wife on trial for the murder of man no one will miss. A feud between an ex-husband and wife won’t end well but for a child who’s afraid of the dark, the odds are better. A woman who uses every life experience as an idea for country western song lyrics can manage to turn any bad luck into music for your ears. mystery

That’s the gist of just a few of the stores. Writers include Frances Aylor, Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, J. A. Chalkley, Stacie Giles, Barb Goffman, Libby Hall, Brad Harper, Sherry Harris, Maggie King, Kristen Kisska, Samantha McGraw, K. L. Murphy, Genilee Swope Parente, Deb Roth, Ronald Sterling, S. E. Warwick, and Heather Weidner, bless their hearts!

mysteryFatally Haunted, from the Los Angeles Sisters in Crime Chapter is edited by Rachel Howzell Hall, Sheila Lowe, and Laurie Stevens. Start with the history of the famous Hollywood sign. It began as Hollywoodland but soon gained fame and lost the last four letters. A gang, out of control, causes torn loyalties, or an accident at the train station can haunt anyone involved. An amusement park ride, a twist on a twist for an ending, or a bank heist, you just never know where help is coming from—sometimes beyond what you can see or touch. The mean streets of LA are sure to draw you in, just like they have thousands of other hopefuls.

Writers include A. P. Jamison, Alison McMahan, Mark Hague, Peter Sexton, Cynda Gernet, Lisa Ciarfella, Gobind Tanaka, Tony Chiarchiaro, Julie G. Beers, Micheal Kelly, B. J. Graf, Roger Cannon, Julie Bricklin, and Jennifer Younger and have penned fourteen haunting stories to keep you awake at night.

mysteryFishy Business, 22 Tales of Murder and Mayhem by the Rising Stars of Mystery, the fifth Guppies Chapter anthology, is edited by Linda Rodriguez. Guppies refer to the Great Un-Plublished writers. Now that more than half of the members have been published, in part due to the support from other members, they are officially known as the Guppie Chapter of Sisters in Crime. The twenty-two member-written caper-related stories had to have one or more crimes perpetrated by the main characters in full view of the reader. The chosen stories were written by seasoned writers as well as first timers. Whether you want to learn the difference between lox and Nova (it’s more than the price!), find a stolen lunch, solve a funeral home heist, or steal without leaving a trace, these writers explain how to do it—and sometimes get away with it.

The authors include Lida Bushloper, Debra H. Goldstein, Rita A. Popp, Kate Fellowes, Chelle Martin, Anna Castle, K. M. Rockwood, Mary Fern Ross, Vinnie Hansen, Susan Bickford, C. C. Guthrie, Raegan Teller, T. Y, Euliano, Beth Green, Steve Shrott, Lesley Mang, Joan Leotta, Andrew MacRae, T. G. Wolff, Mary Alice Meli, and James M. Jackson.

For a quick read at the pool, take a few minutes for yourself and enjoy a tale of crime and intrigue. Your summer will be more enjoyable for it.

To enter to win copies of all 3 Sisters anthologies, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “sisters,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 13, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors.

You can also use these links to purchase the books on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the links:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won’t see coming.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. A good collection of books. Count me in!

  2. Sounds like a great collection of anthologies. Thanks for the chance.

  3. Sisters in Crime chapters publish great anthologies.

    My “bedtime reading” is a short story almost every night. I’d love to have these to add to my collection.

    Address (just incase I win!):
    180 Girl Scout rd.
    Fairfield, PA 17320

  4. Sounds like some good reading.

  5. I’m so excited to read the story written by my niece Beth!

  6. We have a winner!


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