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Letter From Home [Hardcover]

Carolyn Hart
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 34.50 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 7 2003 Hart, Carolyn G
In the summer of 1944, Gretchen Gilman was working as a reporter at the local newspaper. Her assignments weren't very exciting, but it was a good opportunity for a young woman with talent and ambition to spare. That summer everyone was talking about Faye Tatum, who was found dead in her own living room. Gretchen had known Faye, and she'd known that the circumstances of Faye's life and death were much different than people imagined. Gretchen was determined to uncover the truth once and for all-even if it meant writing a story that would haunt her for the rest of her life...

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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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best recent mysteries I have read May 18 2004
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 clues seem to point to her soldier-on-leave husband. Tha atmosphere is well handled and the plot - suffice it to say that this veteran mystery reader was fooled almost all the way by one of the 2 main tricks and all the way by the second. Hart's series debut novels ("Death on Demand" and "Dead Man's Island") were outstanding; this non-series book surpasses both.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a tale! Feb. 21 2004
I just finished this marvelous murder mystery by Carolyn Hart. It 's the first book of hers I've read, but it will not be the last! What an awesome book! I love the style and form of this tale! Each chapter begins with part of a letter addressed to "Dear Gretchen". Next is a section in first person telling of G G Gilmore's return home for a visit to the cemetery with the author of the letter. The balance of each chapter is told in the 3rd person..the tale of young Gretchen the summer she worked for the Gazette, local newspaper, as a writer (and was given her professional name--G G Gilmore--by the editor of the paper)--and the summer her friend Barb's Mother was murdered and Barb's Father was accused of the horrible crime.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Carolyn's best Dec 9 2003
By A Customer
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 through. It is a wonderful story and it has an ending that will have you shaking your head and thinking I never thought.
It takes place in the 40's and is very interesting reading about what life was like back then.
So buy this wonderful book. you will enjoy it. 6 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of a Pulitzer Prize Nov. 20 2003
LETTER FROM HOME is a literary treasure dealing with American life during World War II in small town Oklahoma. Accurate in detail, brimming with emotion, I love the way the story is told in an original style that adds to the suspense. Carolyn Hart encourages readers to deduce character and motivation not from claim and assertion but from what they observe. These characters come alive! A distinguished novel, already nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, LETTER FROM HOME would make a long-lasting gift.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Letter From Home Hits Home Nov. 17 2003
What a rich novel, a powerful mystery, a joy to read.

This novel is outside Hart's well-known longterm mystery series. It involves a 13-year-old in her first journalism job on a daily newspaper in a small northeast Oklahoma town in 1944. It does, however, have a strong mystery to spin, integral to the coming-of-age core plot.

I grew up in a small-town in the same part of Oklahoma during World War II myself. In fact, my family owned the daily newspaper. I don't know whether I was charmed by the book more because it captures or recreates so well a time and place that I share -- or by its intrinsic value, a fine story, beautifully told. I suspect both.
Anyway, I loved it. So will you and so should some people on your holiday gift list.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fine characterization keeps the plot quite lively Nov. 15 2003
The scene: small-town Oklahoma. The character: a world-renowed journalist who goes back to her roots. The problem: a small town murder which prompts speculation and the return of Gretchen to her roots to find out just what happened to a girl who had everything. Fine characterization keeps the plot of Letter From Home quite lively from beginning to end.
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