SPOILER ALERT!

The Muse of Violence

The Muse of Violence - Bruce Hartman

The narrator is the leader of a writers' group who tells a tale reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians ("And Then There Were None"). It all begins with Jackie, a young woman who collects married men. They have to be married. The only married man Jackie is not interested in is her husband, who, according to a story she reads to the group, is a pathetic little wimp called Larry.

 

The following week, Eleanor, an older woman, reads a story she has written in which a wife follows the young blonde seducer of her husband and ... Only Jackie is not there to hear it. Why not? It turns out that she has already been murdered, and the story Eleanor told is remarkably similar to what actually happened to Jackie.

 

Could Eleanor have murdered her? She seems to have a foolproof alibi, but the narrator is not convinced.

 

And so it continues. Read your story, meet your maker.

 

Excellent and gripping. And there is someone in the writers' group for every reader to identify with – always important to me. I identified in this case not with the narrator, who would be most people's choice, I imagine, but with Caroline, whose viewpoint we also get from time to time. The extracts from her diary make her in effect a second narrator, and I have to say I would have preferred rather more of her and rather less of him.