As She Left It: A Novel

( 3 )

Overview

When she was twelve years old, Opal Jones escaped her mother’s endless drinking. Now, returning to their small Leeds cottage after her mum’s death, Opal feels like she’s gone back in time. Nosey Mrs. Pickess is still polishing her windows to a sparkle. Fishbo, Opal’s ancient music teacher, still plays trumpet with his band. And much to Opal’s delight, her favorite neighbor, Margaret Reid, still keeps an eye on things from the walk in front of her house.

But a tragedy has struck ...

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As She Left It: A Novel

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Overview

When she was twelve years old, Opal Jones escaped her mother’s endless drinking. Now, returning to their small Leeds cottage after her mum’s death, Opal feels like she’s gone back in time. Nosey Mrs. Pickess is still polishing her windows to a sparkle. Fishbo, Opal’s ancient music teacher, still plays trumpet with his band. And much to Opal’s delight, her favorite neighbor, Margaret Reid, still keeps an eye on things from the walk in front of her house.

But a tragedy has struck Mote Street. Margaret’s grandson, Craig, disappeared some ten years ago, and every day he’s not found, shame and sorrow settle deeper into the neighborhood’s forgotten corners. As the door she closed on her own dark past begins to open, Opal uncovers more secrets than she can bear about the people who were once her friends.

Praise:

Winner of the 2013 Gold ForeWord IndieFab Award for Mystery

Named one of KIRKUS REVIEWS' "Best Books of 2013"

"The creator of Dandy Gilver . . . has produced a stand-alone that is worlds apart, a fascinating, mysterious ramble you can't put down."—KIRKUS REVIEWS (STARRED REVIEW)

"...dark, absorbing, contemporary stand-alone..."—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"[A] captivating stand-alone from the author of the Dandy Gilver mystery series." —BOOKLIST

"McPherson has crafted a tale that is both suspenseful and poignant. I wanted to cheer for Opal one second and hug her the next."
—EILEEN RENDAHL, AUTHOR OF THE MESSENGER NOVELS


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British author McPherson takes a break from her Danny Gilver cozy series (After the Armistice Ball, etc.) with this dark, absorbing, contemporary stand-alone. After her alcoholic mother’s death, 25-year-old Opal Jones returns to gritty Mote Street in Leeds, England, where she grew up. There she encounters many of the same people she knew at age 12 when she left home. When Opal learns that three-year-old Craig Southgate, whom she used to babysit, disappeared shortly after Opal’s departure from Leeds, she resolves to find out what happened to him. Opal discovers that everyone in the old neighborhood has a secret—even elderly Mr. Gordon, the New Orleans jazz musician known as Fishbo, who taught her to play trumpet. As her own forgotten memories begin to surface in her search for Craig, Opal must summon the courage to face some hard truths about her own past. Agent: Lisa Moylett, Coombs Moylett Literary Agency. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
A mystery a young woman finds in her childhood home leads her to revelations about her clouded past. Opal Jones left home at 12 to escape her alcoholic mother's promiscuous lifestyle. Following her mum's death, she returns to Leeds and moves into the family home. The neighbors are much as she remembers, but all is oddly changed by the disappearance of Dennis and Margaret's grandson Craig, whose mother, Karen, no longer speaks to them. The police looked closely at everyone on Mote Street--including Opal's mum, whose boyfriend at the time was Karen's husband--but Craig was never found. Across the street from Opal live nosy Mrs. Pickess, obsessed with cleanliness; Opal's beloved old music teacher Fishbo Gordon and his fellow band member Pep Kendal; and the Joshis family, who run a taxi service. They all seem to be hiding secrets. Opal often hears her next-door neighbor, the only new arrival on Mote Street, sobbing through their adjoining wall. After she finds an odd message written inside an article of furniture, Opal resolves to track down related messages. Her quest takes her to the wealthy Fossett family, whose senile daughter, Norah, is the only occupant of a huge house. As Opal tries to discover what happened to Craig and searches Norah's house for more clues, repressed memories of her own past float up, threatening her and all her old neighbors. The creator of Dandy Gilver (Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder, 2012, etc.) has produced a stand-alone that is worlds apart, a fascinating, mysterious ramble you can't put down.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738736778
  • Publisher: Midnight Ink
  • Publication date: 6/8/2013
  • Pages: 343
  • Sales rank: 361,781
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Catriona McPherson (California) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is the author of the Dandy Gilver historical mystery series (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books), which was nominated for a Macavity Award in 2012. As She Left It is her Midnight Ink debut.

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Read an Excerpt

Open publication

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    By: Catriona McPherson Published By: Midnight Ink Age Recomme




    By: Catriona McPherson
    Published By: Midnight Ink
    Age Recommended: Adult
    Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
    Rating: 4
    Book Blog For: GMTA
    Review:

    "As She Left It" by Catriona McPherson was a drama with good mystery thriller read, that once you got into the story it was hard to put down. We find that Opal Jones has come back to claim her childhood home that is located on 'Mote Street after the death of her mother from alcoholism. A part of this mystery was that "On Mote Street, a heavy sorrow hangs over every house, threatening to choke whatever threads of humanity are left" due to the fact that a young boy disappeared and was never found around the same time that Opal left town. The irony of it all is that many of the people still lived on 'Mote street.' Opal will come involved with trying to find out what had happened to this child. This is where I say you must pick up this read "As She Left It" to see what all is going on 'Mote Street. There will be many twist and turns along with some deep secrets that will be revealed. I found of the characters were somewhat developed, pathetic, charming, deceitful and even guilty in the search of the truth of it all. I did like out this author was able to show a neighborhood where even though was affected by this child's disappearance and everyone knew every one's business for the most part they kept quite. What will Opal turn up from her search of the truth...who is guilty of what? Maybe this has something to do with my Opal ran away in the first place. What a neighborhood!


    If you are interested in a good mystery thriller read then I would recommend "As She Left It" to you as a good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 30, 2014

    Mysterious atmosphere, suspense palpable from the first page. Op

    Mysterious atmosphere, suspense palpable from the first page. Opal is an intriguing main character, and I felt for her, and all the hardships she went through. I enjoyed how the mystery slowly unfolded, and we figured out more and more about the characters. Solid mystery read. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    Oh my goodness... the cover of this book was very inviting... Th

    Oh my goodness... the cover of this book was very inviting... The story not so much. It was a real struggle to associate the lofty thoughts of Opal with her actual speech which was "blimey" "Oi" etc. I'm also not sure whether author Catriona McPherson could decide whether to write as an American or as an Anglophile, because together she had a hard time. The characters were annoying, unrealistic, and the storyline not engrossing. Needless to say I gave up half way through, flipped to the last two pages and discovered the answer to the mystery.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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