Thursday, April 2, 2009

Amethyst Dreams by Phyllis Whitney

From the dust jacket: For several years, time and circumstance have managed to separate Hallie Knight and her old friend Susan Trench, but when Susan disappears from her grandfather's seaside home on historic Topsail Island, it is Hallie whom Nicholas Trench calls for help.

Wealthy, ill, and irascible, he refuses to believe that his beloved granddaughter and the heir to his fortune has been lost to him. He is certain that if anyone can find Susan, it will be her closest friend, the woman who knows her better than anyone else.

When Hallie arrives from California, she finds the old man surrounded by an odd collection of friends and relatives, all of whom seem to know a little more than they're willing to tell about Susan Trench and her last days on Topsail. Underlying Hallie's anxiety about Susan, as well as her growing concern for Nicholas Trench, is the personal problem of her estrangement from a husband she loves. Threads intertwine and questions build to the pitch of what may be a fearful answer.

A taut, riveting tale of a woman's search for the whereabouts of a dear friend who has disappeared without a trace from her family home on the coast of North Carolina.

I've loved Phyllis Whitney since I was a school girl. This book is another good, compact, easy to read and enjoy mystery. As I read this I thought it felt vaguely familiar, as if I may have read it before. But that's not possible because it was published in 1997 and in 1992-1995 and again in 1999-2002 Ex-Marine and I lived in North Carolina right next to where this book is set, Topsail Beach. I enjoy reading books set in one of the many places I have lived in my travels with Ex-Marine so it would have stuck with me if I had read it. Probably after reading so many books by the same author - I'm just recognizing her style. Her style is comfortable. She spells it all out and lets the story unfold rather gently; there aren't many "edge of your seat" moments with Phyllis it's more of a nagging wariness that leads you through the book.

This book was the last one she wrote before her death last year at age 104. Wow, I'll do the math - this was published in 1997 so 2008 minus 1997 is 11 years meaning 103 minus 11... she was 92 years old when she wrote this. So all you bloggers out there who have ambitions of writing a novel (not me!), take heart, there is still plenty of time. There is an interesting Phyllis Whitney website here.

This book is my "A" for the A-Z Reading Challenge! Click on the logo to see my progress.

This is one of the books on my list for the Spring Reading Thing 2009. Click on the logo to see the rest of my list.

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