Saturday, September 23, 2023

Never Enough, by Liza Cody


"Never Enough," by Liza Cody, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2023.

This is Liza Cody's third appearance in this column.

Among the rules decreed to new writers of fiction is this one: Create a likable protagonist.

Cody seems to have missed the memo. Sheena, the narrator of this tour-de-force novella, is a horrible person and I can't remember the last tine I rooted so hard for the main character of a tale to lose.

How bad is she?  Well, she never refers to her only child  as anything but "the annoying kid."  She has nothing but insults for her only two friends, one of whom she says "I don't like much."

But worse, when she decides that "the marriage was worn as thin as the hall carpet," she set her sights on an artist.  The fact that he had been in a  relationship for decades only made it more of a challenge. She describes the long process of joining up with the artist. 

Sheena is a scary, narcissistic, probably delusional, menace.  You wouldn't want to meet her, but she makes a fascinating protagonist.

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