I have mixed feelings about Michael McDowell and yet I know that many of my friends on goodreads enjoy every word he has ever put into print. I had great trouble with the southern gothic tale "The Elementals" thought "Toplin" a work of great intrigue mystery and strangeness and yet was enthralled by "Cold Moon over Babylon" and saw it as one of the great horror stories of the last 30+ years. Wicked Stepmother is somewhat difficult to categorize and I certainly find it hard to identify with the writing style of McDowell. It is without doubt not meant to be serious but more a satirical and somewhat camp study of a Bostonian family, their social standing, and their murdering attempts to maintain that social status. It has lots of fun moments, a few little surprises but ultimately did not dazzle me in the same way that Cold Moon did.