Reported by Ambrea
Set at the turn of the century in Greenbrier, West Virginia, The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb is a masterful retelling of an infamous legend—and a murder than shook a small town to its core. Shortly after the death of her daughter, Zona, Mary Jane Heaster visits the county prosecutor and claims the ghost of her daughter has appeared, saying she was murdered. When an autopsy proves this to be true, Greenbrier is thrown into turmoil and headlines are awash with stories of the Greenbrier Ghost. Switching between the perspectives of Mary Jane and James P.D. Gardner, the first black attorney to practice law in West Virginia, The Unquiet Grave, according to our Nevermore reader, is an incredibly fascinating novel. Not only does McCrumb’s book draw on the history of the region, it tells a compelling story that’s sure to leave readers clamoring for more. Our reader highly recommended it to Nevermore, saying she finished it within a few days because it was simply that good.
Next, Nevermore checked out When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro. Christopher Banks was born in Shanghai, but, when he is orphaned at the tender age of nine, he’s sent to live in England. More than twenty years later, Christopher has become a renowned detective and he returns to Shanghai to solve the mystery of his parents’ suspicious disappearance. But, as the cover points out, “within the layers of his narrative is slowly revealed what he can’t, or won’t, see: that his memory...is not unaffected by his childhood tragedies; that his powers of perception...can be blinding as well as enlightening; and that the simplest desires—a child’s for his parents, a man’s for understanding—may give rise to the most complicated truths.” Our reader said When We Were Orphans was very good; in fact, she named Ishiguro as her new favorite author, saying he always published incredible works. Insightful and imaginative, this novel is a fascinating look at loss, discovery, memory and desire. Our reader highly recommended it.
Nevermore also took a look at The Discourtesy of Death by William Brodrick, a suspenseful mystery set in Britain that dives back into the world of Father Anselm, a lawyer turned monk. When Father Anselm receives a letter accusing Peter Henderson of murder, he knows he must uncover the truth if he hopes to expose a killer—and stop a series of dangerous events that will inevitably lead to even more spilled blood. Our reader said The Discourtesy of Death was a fine mystery; however, she noted it was filled with philosophical musing and it had a penchant to develop slowly. She offered it to her fellow mystery readers, but she didn’t give it a high recommendation, saying she “honestly found the [history of the] author more interesting than the book.”
Next, Nevermore shared a new book by Kate Rhodes titled Crossbones Yard. In this series debut, readers are introduced to Alice Quentin, a London psychologist with more family baggage than she would like to admit. When Alice stumbles across a murder (quite literally), she finds herself drawn into a murder case that will put her—and everyone one she’s ever cared about—into danger. Our reader said she’d never checked out any of Rhodes' novels, but “I will look for more from her.” Crossbones Yard turned out to be a great mystery story, our reader continued, and the end was “pretty amazing.” Rhodes' novel was passed on and quickly snatched up by the next person.
Last, Nevemore rounded out our meeting with a look at a classic mystery: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. The tenth novel in the Hercule Poirot series, Murder on the Orient Express recounts Detective Poirot’s trip on the luxurious Orient Express as he returns to Belgium—and the unexpectedly grisly murder that pits Poirot against one of the most ingenious killers he’s ever faced. Our reader picked up Christie’s novel, because she wanted to read it before she watched the new movie. She said it’s the perfect winter story. “You can feel the cold and the snow,” she said, noting that the novel is incredibly descriptive and wonderfully detailed. Thus far, she has loved reading Murder on the Orient Express. She’s currently taking notes on characters and trying to decipher clues, saying, “I’m going to figure it out eventually.”