Ashes to Ashes

Isabel Ostrander

One of the earliest inverted mysteries

"From these ashes would spring the phoenix, not of love, but of murder; of hatred, vengeance and the lust to kill! What had he not loosed upon the world!"

One afternoon in downtown New York, Norman Storm sees his beautiful wife Leila emerging from an office building, a random encounter that will turn his life around. Later, he asks her about it, and she denies having been there, claiming instead to have gone to lunch with a friend. And thirty-six hours later, he beats her to death with a golf club.

Ashes to Ashes is an inverted mystery, following the mind of sociopath Norman Storm as he suspects his wife of infidelity, impulsively kills her, then concocts a plan to cover up what he believes is the perfect murder. In the ensuing turn of events, Storm finds that his greatest danger comes, not from the police, but from his well-meaning friends.

An early classic way ahead of its time in foreshadowing domestic noir.

  • Classification : Classic Crime & Adventure/Thrillers
  • Pub Date : JUN 20, 2023
  • Imprint : YELLOWBACK
  • Page Extent : 328
  • Binding : PB
  • ISBN : 9789357310482
  • Price : INR 450

Isabel Ostrander

Isabel Egenton Ostrander (18831924) was a mystery writer of the early twentieth century who used her own name and the pseudonyms 'Robert Orr Chipperfield', 'David Fox', and 'Douglas Grant'.

She was born in New York City to Thomas E. Ostrander and Harriet Elizabeth Bradbrook. Her Ostrander pedigree goes back to seventeenth-century Kingston, New York. She married songwriter Arthur Lamb in June 1907 and filed for divorce less than a year later.

Ostrander is also one of the creator the first blind detective which has become a sub-genre in detective fiction.

Her 1915 novel At One-Thirty, introduces her detective Damon Gaunt but there is speculation that there was an earlier short story that saw magazine publication but was lost. (Blind detective Thornley Colton appeared in some short stories in People's Ideal Fiction Magazine in early 1913 that weren't collected in book form until 1915, while Max Carrados by Ernest Bramah reached the periodicals in 1913, but anthologization in 1914. In no case is bibliography complete for periodicals, and either might be the first, though Max Carrados was the first in book publication).

In the 1920s, Ostrander was notable enough that Agatha Christie parodied her in her Tommy and Tuppence anthology, Partners in Crime. Tommy and Tuppence can be seen to be modelling their detective skills after Ostrander's characters, McCarty and Riordan.

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