Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Short Story Wednesday: Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, ed Sarah Weinman-A Case of Maximum Need, Celia Fremlin


This is pretty much the last story I read in this collection. I have read two of Celia Fremlin's novels and especially liked her first novel, (which won the Edgar) THE HOURS BEFORE DAWN. This story originally appeared in Ellery Queen Magazine in 1977. 


“No, no telephone, thank you. It’s too dangerous,” said Miss Emmeline Fosdyke decisively; and the young welfare worker, only recently qualified, and working for the first time in this Sheltered Housing Unit for the Elderly, blinked up from the form she was filling in.

“No telephone? But, Miss Fosdyke, in your–I mean, with your–well, your arthritis, and not being able to get about and everything…You’re on our House-Bound list, you know that, don’t you? As a House-Bound Pensioner, you’re entitled–well, I mean, it’s a necessity, isn’t it, your telephone? It’s your link with the outside world!”

And indeed it is, but not in the way you expect. Not many 87-year olds can hold our attention but Ms. Fosdyke does once the telephone's installed. A fine end to a fine collection. 

George Kelley

Kevin Tipple 

Jerry House


kobait digital marketing said...
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Jeff Meyerson said...


I think I read this collection, but the story sounds so much like "Sorry, Wrong Number" I can't remember it.

As mentioned previously, I get every Crippen & Landru collection as they come out, as subscribers get a 20% discount, and I've actually read them all, which comes to quite a total. Most are good to very good, though there are a few I haven't really cared for. They've done about 50 in the Lost Classics series - some are authors we all know, like Erle Stanley Gardner and Margaret Millar, while others are unknown to us. Anyway, the latest - which, I may add, does NOT indicate anywhere on the book that it is a Lost Classic except on the list of Lost Classics in the back of the book - was originally published in France in 1937, here now for the first time. It is The Secret of the Pointed Tower by Pierre Very. (Note to C & L editors - a book is unique or it isn't. "Unique" is a superlative and cannot be "very unique" as claimed here.) Mystery writer Tom Mead translated it and introduces Very and the stories. I guess all this is leading up to me saying that, though it is an interesting collection and does sometimes have a sense of humor, it really is not to my taste. I'd say, it's OK. If a copy comes your way it is readable but it is not going on my "keeper" shelves with the books of Gardner, Ed Hoch and the others.

One book I am enjoying is one I got from the late Rick Robinson's collection: Raymond CHandler's Philip Marlowe, edited by Byron Preiss and published in 1988. It consists of 25 new stories featuring Marlowe by such as Max Allan Collins, Sara Paretsky, Ed Hoch, Ed Gorman, Stuart Kaminsky, Loren Estleman and, John Lutz, among others. I'm enjoying it so far.

George's recent review of a Peter Tremayne book prompted me to get two of his collections from the library, one a Sister Fidelma collection and the other historicals that includes at least some Fidelma stories. I'll start those as soon as I finish the Very book today.

George said...

I read HOURS BEFORE DAWN years ago but remember enjoying it. Some writers excel at short stories, some novels, but it's rare when they can do both.

TracyK said...

I still have a few stories left to read in Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, but I have lost track of where my copy is. Celia Fremlin is an author I have on my list to read and I have a couple of her books on my shelves.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Read Hours Before Dawn if nothing else. It's a winner.

TracyK said...

I do have that one here, and I will try to get to it soon.