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Short Story Collection Review     

Red Clay, Blue Cadillac : Stories of Twelve Southern Women
By Michael Malone
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2002
$15.00 (304p)
ISBN: 1-57071-824-5

Michael Malone's Red Clay, Blue Cadillac presents twelve short stories representing twelve "belles of the South." Each woman is capable of deception, betrayal, and seduction. There's not a shrinking violet amongst them but there might be a murderer or two. 

"Red Clay," which opens the collection, won the 1997 Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Buddy, the story's young narrator, is fascinated by his father Clayton's  strong belief that Stella Dora Doyle could not have murdered her husband. Like every man of a certain age in Thermopylae, North Carolina, Clayton was once in love with Stella Dora before she ran away to Hollywood to become a B-grade movie star. Buddy's need to unravel the truth reveals the class issues that have haunted his hometown for generations. 

"Blue Cadillac," originally published in Playboy, has all the elements of the road story. Braxton Cox, heading home to Memphis in his Mustang for Thanksgiving, finds the allure of the young woman with blue eyes matching her classic blue Cadillac irresistible. Over dinner at a roadside tavern, Marie tells Braxton her story while stealing his heart, his wallet, and his self-esteem. 

The other ten stories include : Chairmain who's "White Trash Noir," Miss Mona who refuses to allow would-be bank thieves access to "her" bank, and Mattie, whose husband fell in love with her gazing at a portrait in a museum in Paris. 

Flonnie Rogers, who was first introduced in "The Rising of the South and Flonnie Rogers" later appeared in the novel, Handling Sin. Michael Malone's other novels include: Dingley Falls  and Foolscap


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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