Letter From Home Hardcover – Oct 7 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Hart has created a fabulous two-in-one: an excellent mystery and the poignant memoirs of her heroine, Gretchen Grace Gilman. A letter received by the now elderly newshound extraordinaire returns her physically, mentally and emotionally to her past and to her hometown in northeastern Oklahoma. As the pages of the letter unfold, so does the story of Gretchen's summer of 1944. With every able-bodied male involved in the war effort, Gazette editor Walt Dennis agrees to give 13-year-old Gretchen a shot as a newspaper reporter. But the sleepy town is soon rocked by the murder of Faye Tatum, an artist and the mom of Gretchen's friend and neighbor Barb. To make matters worse, the prime suspect is Barb's dad, Clyde, home on leave but nowhere to be found after the murder. Political ambitions spur the county attorney and the sheriff to track down Clyde and arrest him, while less hasty Chief Fraser is more interested in first sorting through all the facts. The obviously well-researched history draws the reader into this atypical whodunit. Characters are Steinbeck vivid, as is the sense of time and place. Hart masterfully portrays an American small town during WWII.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Carolyn Hart is the author of Death on Demand and the Henrie O series. Her books have won the Agatha, the Anthony and Macavity awards. She was a founding member and is a former president of Sisters in Crime. Her most recent title is Sugar Plum Dead. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I wanted to race through this book to see what would happen next...and I wanted to stroll though it to catch all the fascinating word portraits. The words made me feel like I was THERE...seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching everything. It's winter here now and snow covers the ground, but I felt the heat and humidity of the Oklahoma summer as I got lost in this marvelous mystery.
The last chapter takes place 50-some years after the summer of 1944...and is a total surprise: tying up all loose ends in the happenings of that hot, humid summer of murder that wasn't really solved .. at least wasn't revealed...until all these years later.
All able-bodied men had left for the War. Gretchen lived with her grandmother while her mom was in Tulsa aiding the war effort. With a shortage of reporters causing a hardship for the Gazette, thirteen-year-old Gretchen was sent to apply for work at the local newspaper office. Crusty editor Mr. Dennis --- reminiscent of Jimmy Olson's boss at The Daily Planet --- begrudgingly hired her, despite his feeling that women (not to mention girls) don't belong in a newspaper office. But somebody had to do the work, so he gave her a chance. She covered the courthouse, sniffing out which of the local townsfolk had filed lawsuits or spent the night in the drunk tank. She checked the wire for news of the battlefront and stories of soldiers returning home.
One day, as she neared the police station, a patrol car with sirens pulsing rushed past her. She didn't know it then, but it was the beginning of one of the biggest investigations her little hometown had ever seen.Read more ›
We see the story through the eyes of a woman named Gretchen, mentally vigorous in old age and reliving events from the summer of 1944 when she was fourteen. Men being away at war changed life in her small Oklahoma town, and gave her the opportunity to work as a newspaper reporter that summer. When a murder happened two doors from where she lived with her grandmother, she found herself deeply involved.
I don't enjoy stories about teenage angst, and this is not at all that kind of book. The use of Gretchen's point of view allows the reader to see events through her innocence, rather than the cynicism of a hard-boiled mystery.
If you've enjoyed other Carolyn Hart books, you'll surely love this one. Oklahoma summers are HOT, so it will warm you on a winter night, or have you reaching for iced tea and watermelon in summer!
Kathy Diamond Davis
Most recent customer reviews
This is one of the most satisfying contemporary mysteries I have read in the past 15 or so years. Set in World War II, the protagonist's best friend's mother is murdered and all... Read morePublished on May 18 2004 by Enrique F. Bird
This one of the best books Ms Hart has ever written and she is a top notch author. She has got your attention on page one and you will not want to put it down until you are... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2003
LETTER FROM HOME is a literary treasure dealing with American life during World War II in small town Oklahoma. Read morePublished on Nov. 20 2003 by Laurie Banton
What a rich novel, a powerful mystery, a joy to read.
This novel is outside Hart's well-known longterm mystery series. Read more
The scene: small-town Oklahoma. The character: a world-renowed journalist who goes back to her roots. Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2003 by Midwest Book Review
Even though Carolyn Hart is a well known mystery novelist (authour of the Henrie O. & Death on Demand mystery novels), and even though the shocking murder of Faye Tatum is the... Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2003 by tregatt