Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On the Rocks: A Willa Cather and Edith Lewis Mystery by Sue Hallgarth

Publisher:                   Arbor Farm Press

There is nothing worse than a book that doesn’t deliver what it says it is.  If a title says it is a mystery, then there should be a mystery.

The book starts with a murder.  Willa Cather actually owned a home on Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy, and the story is set there.  While she and Edith Lewis are out in a boat one day, they see a man’s body thrown off of a cliff.  The rest of the story is more an explanation of village politics and the events that follow the murder than it is a mystery.  Who committed the crime and why becomes clear early in the story.

On the Rocks is more about the relationship between Cather and Lewis than it is about the mystery.  For people who are Cather fans, this might be interesting, except it’s based on conjecture.  The book assumes that Cather and Lewis were lovers.  That is a topic that is much discussed in the literary community, however, since Cather refused to address it herself and there is no direct evidence in either direction, writing the story this way reflects the author’s own interests more than the truth.  At any rate, that doesn’t make the book a mystery.

The book is rather bland for mystery fans and anyone else should remember it’s listed as fiction.  It isn’t challenging reading.  Keep that in mind if you decide to buy it.

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