Blood in the Parlor, Dorothy Dunbar

I was looking for an odd little gem to read, and a recommendation from Donna Tartt, made in an old Voice article, prompted me to pick up Dunbar's tales of "creative murders, committed by people with a sense of symmetry and imagination in life, art, and crime." From Tartt's recommendation: "My mother has had this book since I was a little girl, but no one else I know has ever heard of it, and it's almost impossible to find. Each of the 12 stories is an account of a 19th-century murder told with a light, macabre sense of humor. I'd love to see it back in print with illustrations by Edward Gorey."

I checked out a copy at the Center for Fiction; perfect, light reading for the days leading up to Halloween. Dunbar has a wry wit -- take, for instance, this observation about the horror of Lizzie Borden's murderous spree: "There are many elements of horror in the Borden case, but one of the worst was the August fourth breakfast---mutton, sugar cakes, coffee, and mutton broth."