‘Too Much To Bare’ by Joan Hess

Too Much To Bare by Joan Hess, 1990

The magic trick:

An original twist on the murder mystery story

Hess set much of her mystery fiction in Arkansas, so her presence is a must in her home state’s showcase week on the SSMT site.

And yes, we are off to Arkansas this week.

The winner of the 1991 Agatha Prize for best mystery story, this one is a slyly original play on the murder mystery. It likely won’t strike you as original at first. The angry wife plotting to kill her cheating husband. And you won’t find any twist on who the killer her. It’s definitely the angry wife, rest assured.

But there is a twist, and this is where the originality comes in. The murderer has made a mistake, and it’s very cleverly constructed and revealed.

And that’s quite a trick on Hess’s part.

The selection:

Waggling a finger at her, Sylvia said, “It’s time you saw something more exciting than a kindergarten classroom, my dear. You’re beginning to look like one of your five-year-olds.”

Bitsy pursed her lips into a pout. “This whole thing is nauseating. I should have stayed at my apartment and washed my hair. Let’s go, Marjorie. The ladies’ room is probably filthy, but I’m not accustomed to beer. Scotch is less fattening, and so much more civilized than this swill.”

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