Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s by Sandra Murphy (editor)

Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s by Sandra Murphy (editor)
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, LGBTQ, Historical, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Rebellion, revolution, and rock and roll defined the ‘60s. As music moved from country to folk protest songs, rock became the voice of the “turn on, tune in, drop out,” generation. Peace, love, and harmony were the goals. Meditation, mysticism, and psychedelic drugs were the way to enlightenment. Peace, love, and crime were often the result, sometimes humorous, sometimes deadly.

And the music played on. As Harold says in The Big Chill, “There is no other music, not in my house.”

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There’s a story behind every song.

In “Cooking with Butter,” Amanda decided to murder her ex-husband. All she needed to do was to figure out the best way to go about it while hopefully avoiding detection. Her personality grew on me as I got to know her better and figured out her reasons for wanting him to die. She was a complex character who gave me plenty to think about, especially once I realized exactly how much thought she’d put into her plan.

All of the stories in this anthology had clever premises that were worth reading, but there were a few that I thought would have benefitted from a little more development. “Mercy” was one example of this. It followed a young woman named Lila as she grieved the death of her brother, came out of the closet, and tried to figure out what to do with her life. There was so much going on in her life that she didn’t have enough time to explore any of those subplots in detail. It would have been nice to get to know Lila better as she was a fascinating character in general.

Jerry had to find out what caused his father’s sudden and frightening chest pain in “Spirit in the Sky.” The relationship between these two characters was genuine and nuanced. They didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but they did always love each other no matter what. I had a wonderful time peeling back the layers of their personalities. They were both far more complex than they appeared to be at first glances for reasons I’ll leave up to other readers to piece together for themselves.

Anyone who loves ’60s music should give Peace, Love, and Crime a try.

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