What Dread Hand? by Christianna Brand
Fifteen perfectly constructed tales of death both well-planned and chaotic
Mr. de Silva begins the day sipping his coffee, reading the Times, and trying to decide how to murder his wife. After two years of marriage, he’s simply fed up, and has decided to move on to someone younger, slimmer, and prettier. The trouble is, he wants to keep his wife’s money. Killing her is the neatest solution.
So begins “The Rose,” a three-page masterpiece that was the first story Christianna Brand ever wrote for publication. Over the next half-century she would write dozens of novels and countless short stories, proving again and again her genius for crisp characterization, witty dialogue, and timely bits of violence. This collection holds some of her finest early work—tales of murders committed for money, jealousy, or simply for something to do. Though the crimes often go awry, there is nothing quite so charming as a vintage Brand homicide.
“You have to reach for the greatest of Great Names to find Brand’s rivals in the subtleties of the trade.” —New York Times
“One of the great masters of English detective fiction.” —Francis M. Nevins, author of Cornell Woolrich
“[Brand] was ready to jig endlessly with her pieces, to reject and replace until there was not a single gap that her reader would detect.” —H.R.F. Keating, author of Crime & Mystery: The 100 Best Books
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