Her Infinite Variety by B. K. Stevens
My husband decided to accompany me to the Killer Nashville conference. Driving was much cheaper than flying, especially times two.
A Kindle or other e-reader is essential for travel. You can carry your entire library in the space of one trade paperback. Reading or listening to fiction has become a tradition on our road trips. Fortunately for us, I had loaded a short story collection by B. K. Stevens before we left town.
I have read several of Stevens’ stories in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. After her recent passing, I learned she had released a 2016 anthology of her short fiction, Her Infinite Variety.
I read aloud The Detectives while my husband drove across Kansas. We both laughed out loud at certain lines and situations. The story was thoroughly entertaining, and like other B. K. Stevens stories, I thought about the characters long after The End.
Iphigenia Woodhouse had sacrificed her life to care for her elderly mother. Professor Minerva Woodhouse has issues. She is eccentric and pretty obnoxious, with a habit of calling her daughter a “nasty girl.” When Harriet Russo arrives, fresh from college and eager to apprentice with a real PI, she is assigned two tasks: Follow a sad sack poor-little-rich-girl home from high school, and win Mother’s approval.
Spoiler alert, sort of: Harriet is an outsider to the mother-daughter relationship, and swiftly figures out the dynamics. She also helps solve a crime. But perhaps most importantly, she wins the approval of both Iphigenia and her mother.
You can probably dig up past issues of AHMM and the other magazines and anthologies containing Stevens’ stories, but this collection offers something unique. Stevens introduces the collection with a thoughtful essay, then gives the insider scoop at the end of each story. These give insight to the mind of a great writer.
We anticipate being thoroughly entertained all the way to Nashville.
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