It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. Read more about Eleanor Murphy Book Club: Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
It's April 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's thirty-eighth birthday, and she's alone in her office catching up on paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. Michael Sutton is twenty-seven, an unemployed college dropout. More than two decades ago, a four-year-old girl disappeared, and a recent newspaper story about her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial and could identify the killers if he saw them again. He wants Kinsey's help in locating the grave and finding the men. It's way more than a long shot, but he's persistent and willing to pay cash up front. Reluctantly, Kinsey agrees to give him one day of her time. But it isn't long before she discovers Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he's the boy who cried wolf. Is his story true, or simply one more in a long line of fabrications? Moving effortlessly between the 1980s and the 1960s, and changing points of view as Kinsey pursues witnesses whose accounts often clash. Gradually, we come to see how everything connects in this twisting, complex, surprise-filled thriller. And as always, at the beating heart of her fiction is Kinsey Millhone, a sharp-tongued, observant loner who never forgets that under the thin veneer of civility is a roiling dark side to the soul.
****Please Note: Book Club is rescheduled from Tues, May 3rd. ****
Meet Denver, a man raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana in the 1960s; a man who escaped, hopping a train to wander, homeless, for eighteen years on the streets of Dallas, Texas. No longer a slave, Denver's life was still hopeless-until God moved. First came a godly woman who prayed, listened, and obeyed. And then came her husband, Ron, an international arts dealer at home in a world of Armani-suited millionaires. And then they all came together.
Phenix City, Alabama, from its founding during the Civil War, has been the dirty, not-so-little secret of the South. It is a riverside no-man's land, a place where a blind eye has historically been turned to vice of every sort, including prostitution, gambling, and even murder. Atkins shows us Phenix City in its 1950s hey-day, where a battle is building between a handful of decent citizens and the underworld willing to do anything to maintain their control. Atkins draws from the worlds of pulp and Faulkner, using characters from the town's true history to tell a story of the best and worst of morality, and the ambiguity in between.Read more about Eleanor Murphy Book Club: Wicked City
Stephanie Plum is back in town, along with her sidekick Lula, her Grandma Mazur, and an ever-widening cast of freaks, criminals, deranged felons, and lunatics looking for love. And just when she thinks her life can't get any more complicated, in walks the mysterious Diesel. Read more about Eleanor Murphy Book Club: Plum Spooky
"Excellent Women" is one of Barbara Pyms richest and most amusing high comedies. Mildred Lathbury is a clergymans daughter and a mild-mannered spinster in 1950s England. She is one of those excellent women, the smart, supportive, repressed women who men take for granted. As Mildred gets embroiled in the lives of her new neighborsanthropologist Helena Napier and her handsome, dashing husband, Rocky, and Julian Malory, the vicar next doorthe novel presents a series of snapshots of human life as actually, and pluckily, lived in a vanishing world of manners and repressed desires. Read more about Eleanor Murphy Book Club: Excellent Women
The Cape Ann is the name on the plans of the house that Lark Ann Ehrhart and her mother plan to build some day. It is the place to which six-year-old Lark escapes in daydreams when her parents begin to argue, the home that her mother dreams offar from the rooms in the train depot where they live and Lark's father works. Ultimately it symbolizes escape from Harvester, Minn., and independence from the husband and father whose gambling repeatedly sabotages their dream. Lark narrates the adult events of Harvester's Catholic culture without always understanding them. Her point of view adds depth to the story, though occasionally it is more adult than a six year old's would be. Characters are fully colored; historical references firmly set the story in the Depression and beyond. Read more about Eleanor Murphy Book Club: The Cape Ann
Neil White, a journalist and magazine publisher, wanted the best for those he loved-nice cars, beautiful homes, luxurious clothes. He loaned money to family and friends, gave generously to his church, and invested in his community-but his bank account couldn't keep up. Soon White began moving money from one account to another to avoid bouncing checks. His world fell apart when the FBI discovered his scheme and a judge sentenced him to serve eighteen months in a federal prison. But it was no ordinary prison. The beautiful, isolated colony in Carville, Louisiana, was also home to the last people in the continental United States disfigured by leprosy. Hidden away for decades, this small circle of outcasts had forged a tenacious, clandestine community, a fortress to repel the cruelty of the outside world. It is here, in a place rich with history, amid an unlikely mix of leprosy patients, nuns, and criminals, that White's strange and compelling journey begins. He finds a new best friend in Ella Bounds, an eighty-year-old African American double amputee who had contracted leprosy as a child. She and the other secret people, along with a wacky troop of inmates, help White rediscover the value of simplicity, friendship, and gratitude.Funny and poignant, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts is an uplifting memoir that reminds us all what matters most. Read more about Eleanor Murphy Book Club: In the Sanctuary of Outcasts
When her great-aunt dies, Towner Whitney returns to Salem, Massachusetts, to deal with ghosts, real and imagined, historical and current. With the first sentence, Towner announces herself as an unreliable narrator, and just how unreliable she is remains a mystery through most of the novel. Towner is mourning the death of her beloved twin sister, recovering from surgery, and recovering from shock treatments administered to help her cope with her depression. She belongs to a family of lace readers and is a reluctant seer who also has the ability to read other people's thoughts. Towner longs to leave Salem, but circumstances seem determined to keep her there until both she and the reader can unravel the mystery of her past. Read more about Eleanor Murphy Book Club: The Lace Reader