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Maybe A Little Excessive

So I’m reading this thriller by Sara Rayne—in the interests of not spoilering, I won’t tell you the title—and it starts off with a female serial killer in an asylum.

Great! Fine! That’s just what we like in our thrillers!

And now her sister has turned up, in the same asylum, who is also a serial killer, only because she was under a different name, nobody ever connected the two, because these were the bad old days before good medical records.

Well, okay, maybe it’s hereditary. Some mental illnesses run in families, right? We can work with that.

Now it turns out that the nice little old lady who runs the B&B in town is also a serial killer.

Leaving aside the fact that this book is apparently raining homicidal little old ladies, I have to admire the author’s technique for easing us into it with the nice old lady running the B&B. She started off shoving her aunt down the stairs, and you go “Well, okay, that was excessive, but she had these horribly traumatic events with the parents being shot and the being shoved into the charnal house full of corpses and watching her mother be picked apart by vultures, and she kinda had a good reason, in a weird child-logical sorta way. Fine. One aunt’s not a lot. As long as she’s eaten up by guilt over it for the rest of her life, we’ll let it slide.”

Then she shoves the other aunt out a window, same reason.

“Well, okay, two aunts is a little excessive…”

But really, it’s not until she frames her uncle with a dead hooker that you find yourself going “Lady, you have crossed the line! Two obnoxious maiden aunts I could give you, but when you start stabbing perfectly innocent hookers, you’ve gone too far!”

I can only assume that the so-far completely absent lead will also turn out to be a serial killer, and that the nice young woman with the tie-dyed hair that comes to help with the washing left a trail of corpses behind her on the way to the laundry room.

I don’t think I’d be able to write a crime/thriller/improbable serial killer reunion. It requires knowing too much about the real world, and I like my hand-waving. But I do enjoy reading them.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

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wouldn't that be the best thriller novel ever? a story about a serial killer family reunion. I'd read it.

" Oh Janey here take the eyeball-and-green-jello mold a minute honey, Uncle Dane's trying to strangle Aunt Pat with her own pantyhose again. Sigh. Oh and if you spill any of that jello I'm going to carve your liver out and make a nice pate' out of it, ok? Kiss kiss! "

eyeball-and-green-jello mold

You've been reading the Vintage Ads Comm, haven't you?



The Sandman series had one episode with a serial killer convention.

That was not a good weekend for others to be staying at that hotel.

A friend wrote and sold a story involving a serial killer convention - and in the interval between acceptance and publication, that issue of Sandman was published. The editor killed the story's publication and sent it back to my friend with apologies. Bad timing, was all.

D'oh! That's got to hurt.

...so, did you ever ask which hotel the friend and Gaiman both stayed at?

Well they really weren't supposed to "collect" while at the con...
the con crasher, on the other hand, was fair game!

I've read a short story in which a trucker whose hobby is killing hitchhikers picks up a hitchhiker whose hobby is killing drivers who pick him up.

When they each figure out what the other has in mind, they fight; and the truck crashes. In the end, the ambulance attendant kills them both.

Tangent: Idea I don't have a story for: people whose hobby is resurrecting murder victims before the cops know a crime's been committed.

Hah - there is an Australian short film with a similar premise. Though it ends with neither or them knowing - and they are getting ready to like pull over...each of them getting ready to strike.

IIRC, there's a bit in a Thomas Disch novel about a friendship between serial killers. What I remember fondly is one of the killers explaining that he doesn't keep count of his victims-- that would make it too much like work.

I don’t think I’d be able to write a crime/thriller/improbable serial killer reunion. It requires knowing too much about the real world, and I like my hand-waving. But I do enjoy reading them.

... from what you describe here, sounds more like it requires knowing too little about the real world for you ;)

I did write one comic where two serial killers collide, but I tend to figure most IRL would avoid and/or hate each other.

At this point in the book I'd start expecting an Evil Supernatural Force to be warping minds in town. :P

It could be like that Orient Express story: everyone is a serial killer, so everyone deserves to die.

Okay maybe the serial sisters is buy-able, if you assume such a thing can be inherited. However to then start pulling other serial killers out of the woodwork... I can imagine a room full of suspects, the detective turns round and says "Okay, hands up anyone who isn't a serial killer!"

All hands remain down!

Sounds oddly similar to Hot Fuzz...

For some reason, this reminds me of a book by one of my favourite authors. The first scene has a main character, who has been reading a mystery book, saying, "What kind of idiot hides a body in a closet?"

Came across this and thought the artist in you would admire his work.


Those are incredible! Wow!

Female serial killers are rare and usually kill for a purpose, like vengeance or a sense of justice, not randomly tossing people out of windows. Also there's a pattern and a method. This one sounds more like a spree killer, you start with one and you can't stop. Like me and chips. If murder tasted like chips I might do it.

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