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Deadly Southern Charm: A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology

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This volume collects original tales by Frances Aylor, Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, Judy Chalkey, Stacie Giles, Barb Goffman, Libby Hall, Bradley Harper, Sherry Harris, Maggie King, Kristin Kisska, Samatha McGraw, K.L. Murphy, Genille Swope Parente, Deb Rolfe, Rod Sterling, S.A. Warwick, and Heather Weidner.

174 pages, Paperback

First published March 27, 2019

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About the author

Mary Burton

64 books3,124 followers

Mary Burton, whose latest novel is NEAR YOU, loves writing suspense, getting to know her characters, keeping up with law enforcement and forensic procedure, morning walks, baking, and tiny dachshunds. She also enjoys hunting down serial killers, which she does in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels. Library Journal has compared her work to that of Lisa Jackson and Lisa Gardner, and Fresh Fiction likened her writing to that of James Patterson.

Mary is routinely featured among the top ten writers in Amazon’s Author Rankings for romantic suspense, thriller and mystery. Upon publication, her novels, including 2020’s NEVER LOOK BACK and BURN YOU TWICE, consistently rank high on the Kindle eBooks Store Bestseller List. Her novels CUT AND RUN and YOU'RE NOT SAFE were nominated for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Romantic Suspense.

A Richmond native, Mary is the author of forty-five published novels and five novellas as Mary Burton and as Mary Ellen Taylor.

A member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., and Romance Writers of America, Mary is known for creating multiple suspense stories connected by characters and/or place.

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5 stars
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9 (27%)
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6 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,379 reviews271 followers
May 4, 2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts

When I started this book I had planned to read a couple of stories each night, there are 18 in all. I finished The Girl In The Airport by Frances Aylor and loved it and plunged right ahead. When I reached the end of Keepsakes by J.A. Chalkley I had a chill run up my spine and kept reading. I reached Country Song Gone Wrong by Sherry Harris and spent a little time with one of my favorite cozy characters, Sarah Winston and a great little whodunit and couldn’t stop. As I started Keep Your Friends Close by Maggie King my husband interrupted me to ask if I was ready for dinner. It was Easter, so I took a break to eat the wonderful meal he had prepared and spent some time with my family. Before I went to sleep that night I just had to finish Maggie’s story and then didn’t stop until I reached the end of Art Attack by Heather Weidner.

I enjoyed every one of the stories. Most of these authors were new to me and I will be watching for their books now. A few, Molly Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, Sherry Harris, and Heather Weidner already have books on my shelves and I am always excited about their new works.

This anthology was a real treat. I loved the southern theme. Short stories are difficult to write, especially mysteries because so much has to happen. All of these authors did an excellent job. I couldn’t pick a favorite if I tried.
Profile Image for Phyllis Entis.
Author 14 books68 followers
April 16, 2019
Criminally charming

It’s hard to write a short story mystery. There’s little room for character development, plot twists, and sub-plots.

To my delight, the contributing authors of the Deadly Southern Charm collection of short stories have produced an enjoyable anthology of cozy crimes.

If you are looking for a buffet of stories to sample while on your morning commute or waiting for an appointment, this is the book for you. Each story is complete in itself, and just the right length for a satisfying read.
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,391 reviews59 followers
April 28, 2019
Deadly Southern Charm contains eighteen original short cozy mysteries from the Sisters in Crime in Central Virginia along with some guest authors. These varied tales are all set in the Southern states. Each unique story features a female sleuth. These Southern women are feminine yet formidable. In the South, they are called steel magnolias because “they have strength of steel, yet the gentleness of a magnolia”. They are short stories that can be read quickly since each one is about ten to twelve pages in length. The stories are well-written and easy to read. The authors crafted special mysteries that suit this smaller format. They capture the charm of the South in the setting, language, and attitudes. My favorite story was Cayce’s Treasures by Lynn Cahoon. It featured Cayce Andrews who just bought an antique shop in New Orleans. She finds the owner dead in his office and gets help from the buildings ghost, Harry. This would make a wonderful prequel to a new series (hint hint). These brief tales range from light hearted to spooky (like Shadow Man by Brad Harper). I found some new authors thanks to Deadly Southern Charm. I thought the stories were a like potato chips. You cannot eat just one chip or read just one novella (hard to put down). Cozy mystery fans will be delighted with the eighteen mysteries in Deadly Southern Charm.
Profile Image for Laura.
3,183 reviews316 followers
April 24, 2019
Love mysteries but don't have hours to sit and read? This collection is perfect for you. Read one or several in the time you have available right now. Although I did find it hard to put the book down. I couldn't wait to see what would come next.
See what themes you can pick up between these intriguing yet not simple brief stories.
Loved this book and found a few new authors I want to read more from!
Many favorite authors are included.
Profile Image for Lelia Taylor.
872 reviews16 followers
June 13, 2019
The Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia Chapter has been releasing anthologies for quite some time and, for this latest volume, a few “friends of the family” have joined in on the fun.

The stories included here all have two things in common—they revolve around a mystery in some way and they’re set in the South. I’m not generally a fan of short stories unless they’re by an author whose work I already like a lot but I’m a pushover for Southern fiction so reading Deadly Southern Charm was a no-brainer.

As you might expect, I didn’t unreservedly love every single story but each one did have something I appreciated and I had some favorites. Country Song Gone Wrong by Sherry Harris had some surprising moments and Frances Aylor’s The Girl in the Airport tickled my fancy while Deadly Devonshire by Samantha McGraw reminded me of a cozy series I’m fond of. On the grittier side, Burn by K.L. Murphy satisfied my need for a little darkness and Ronald Sterling’s Just Like Jiminy Cricket was creepy enough to set my Spidey sense on high alert.

All in all, Deadly Southern Charm is an entertaining compendium of stories that whiled away a couple of rainy days for me, a most satisfying read that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2019.

Contributors—Frances Aylor, Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, Judy Chalkley, Stacie Giles, Barb Goffman, Libby Hall, Bradley Harper, Sherry Harris, Maggie King, Kristin Kisska, Samantha McGraw, K.L. Murphy, Genille Swope Parente, Deb Rolfe, Ronald Sterling, S.A. Warwick, and Heather Weidner.

P.S. Disclaimer: Until January of this year, I was a non-author member of the chapter, only giving it up when I moved from Richmond, VA, to St. Augustine, FL. I do admit to a certain predilection for the organization and its members but I’ve done my best not to let that creep into my reading/reviewing of Deadly Southern Charm 😉
Profile Image for L.S..
696 reviews24 followers
April 23, 2019
As a collection of short stories, these are an easy to read, entertaining bunch of stories, especially perfect when you have limited time but still want a quality tale.

My favourites were:

Southern Sisters Stick Together by Stacie Giles - I loved how this was set in the 1920s, just as women had got the right to vote. Vera - a waitress at Gerber's Tea Room - sets out to warn her co-workers following the news headlines of a woman drugged and assaulted in the area. Her cousin, Burnell, a police officer mentions the woman had been given knockout drops. So, when a new doctor in the area shows signs of an attitude problem with women, and is also overheard talking about the drug concerned with a colleague, Vera is determined to find the truth.

The Power Behind The Throne by Barb Goffman - as a huge fan of courtroom dramas, I knew from the first sentence that I'd lap up this story with gusto. Emily Forester is calm. cool and collected. She even admits to killing her husband; but her defence is simply sublime. As is the revenge she seeks. This was a total hit for me, and I'll be looking for more by this author, for sure.

Keep Your Friends Close by Maggie King - a clever little mystery set in a coffee shop as two friends join forces to solve the mystery of who killed Vicki Berenger. As they ruminate over possible suspects, motives and MOs, what seems to be a simple little discussion between friends turns into something altogether more interesting. A classic mystery reliant on piecing the clues together. Great fun.

Deadly Devonshire by Samantha McGraw - who knew cakes could be so deadly. In this story, the owner of The Tea Cottage feels obliged to solve the mystery of a diner's sudden death when the police are delayed due to snow. I must say I can't resist an amateur sleuth mystery, and this was a gem.

It's starting to look like I have rather a lot of favourites, isn't it, but I'll just add one more. My final story of note is Stewing by Libby Hall. Set in Sloe,Virginia, this story had not only an authentic setting, but it oozed charm, with its Southern vibe, lingo, and attitude (just beware of the unusual Shepherd's Pie!)These mysteries certainly did not disappoint. So much variety and great storytelling. I've found some new authors to follow as well. You can't possibly go wrong if you pick up a copy yourself.
Profile Image for Katherine Tomlinson.
Author 61 books13 followers
April 17, 2019
This is a terrific collection of short fiction written by members of the Central Virginia Chapter of Sisters in Crime (some of whom are men) and a couple of “guest author. Empowered women have the spoitlight here (as “lethal ladies”) and the setting is the south in all its humid humanity. (the stories are set in a number of cities—Richmond, New Orleans, Memphis) and all the writers have worked hard to deliver a real “sense of place.” there are no stereotypes here, although there are some familiar figures, especially for those who were raised south of the Mason-Dixon line and grew up eating pimento-cheese sandwiches washed down with sweet tea.
This collection is filled with strong stories. Deb Rolfe’s “A Job to Die For” packs a feisty feminist punch around a playful twist ending. “Who Killed Billy Joe” and “A Country Song Gone Wrong” are nicely handled and older women get their licks in with “Never Marry a Redhead,” “Keepsakes,” and “Burn.” (Note to a husband thinking of cheating. Never turn your back on a Steel Magnolia.) And that goes for anyone else who might be thinking of “being ugly” to one. (See Maggie King’s story “Keep Your Friends Close” and “Unbridled” by Kristin Kisska.
Fans of short fiction—particularly feminist crime fiction—will enjoy this anthology.
I received a copy of this anthology in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Heather.
Author 17 books476 followers
May 10, 2019
I’m so excited to have my story “Art Attack” in this collection about the sweet, deadly south. Check it out. Lynn Cahoon, Sherry Harris, Libby Hall, and many others have great stories about strong women and interesting locales.
Profile Image for Paula Ratcliffe.
1,311 reviews69 followers
April 18, 2019
These stories are great if you only have a few minutes while waiting for an appointment you can read one and then go back and read the next! Definitely captivating stories that pull you in wanting to find out how they do after the story has been ended. I thoroughly enjoyed each story! Can't wait to check out some of these great authors and see what else they have written!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amy Reade.
Author 21 books227 followers
April 29, 2019
This was a spooky, fun, and thoroughly Southern collection of mysteries. Each one was so unique and so different from all the others that every time I should have closed the book and gone to bed, I would say to myself, "Just one more story." So I lost a lot of sleep thanks to Deadly Southern Charm, and I'd do it again because it's so much fun to read. Kudos to all the authors for such great writing.
Profile Image for Mary.
540 reviews
June 15, 2019
Deadly Southern charm : a Lethal Ladies mystery anthology / edited by Mary Burton and Mary Miley.
I’ve heard it said of various southern women, “she’s sweet as can be, but you don’t want to get on her bad side.” After reading these tales, I suggest heeding that advice.
The fun of anthologies is discovering new authors while enjoying works from familiar favorites. There’s lovely variety in these stories, and I couldn’t pick a favorite. I loved Brad Harper’s “Shadow Man” for the storytelling (of course), Stacie Giles’s “Southern Sisters Stick Together” for the warning and solidarity, and Barb Goffman’s “The Power Behind the Throne” for the surprises and internal dialog, but I couldn’t name all that I liked . . . the stories are all excellent and thought-provoking, even if I did, in my Dad’s words, “get my money’s worth” from the first one I read, making all the rest a bonus. As Deb Rolfe wrote in “A Job To Die For,” “murder should be memorable.” These are.
Profile Image for Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews.
2,322 reviews121 followers
May 5, 2019
If you have just 10 minutes then this is the book to have on hand to read during that short interlude. 18 mystery short stories that take a short amount of time to read but still can surprise you all the way to the end!

So while this would have been great to read when I needed something short, I found it hard to put the book down and consumed all of the stories in a short amount of time. I was engaged in each story and was surprised at many of the stories and how the killer was revealed. I also enjoyed the variety of time periods that the various stories covered and could have enjoyed another 18+ stories!

I can't pick out a favorite because I liked all of the stories for different reasons. Some were easy to figure out, others were harder, and some just surprised me with the endings.
Profile Image for Mave.
481 reviews8 followers
January 2, 2020
Being able to read in a single book some of my favorite cozy mystery writers, this collection was a must for me. Eighteen interesting short funny stories with unexpected twists and impeccably written. They are so engaging that as soon as one is over you have to read another and another, is almost impossible to put it down. The element that unites all the stories is the South: they are set in a Southern state with strong intelligent women who have great investigative skills.

I really recommend it
58 reviews2 followers
September 15, 2019
Cute stories but for my mysteries I like more mystery and less cute. All stories are just a few pages long so there is not much time in which to develop either the mystery or the characters. I expected more.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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