Miss Me When I'm Gone

Miss Me When I'm Gone

3.5 8
by Emily Arsenault

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“A very clever wordsmith.”
New York Times Book Review

“Ms. Arsenault…reveals strange truths beneath everyday surfaces.”
Wall Street Journal

Emily Arsenault’s first two novels, Broken Teaglass (“a beautifully written, engaging mystery” —Dorothy Allison) and In

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“A very clever wordsmith.”
New York Times Book Review

“Ms. Arsenault…reveals strange truths beneath everyday surfaces.”
Wall Street Journal

Emily Arsenault’s first two novels, Broken Teaglass (“a beautifully written, engaging mystery” —Dorothy Allison) and In Search of the Rose Notes, received resounding critical acclaim. With her third, Miss Me When I’m Gone, she firmly re-establishes her standing among Laura Lippman, Tana French, Jennifer McMahon, Megan Abbot, and the other major players in the literary mystery game. Arsenault enthralls with this story of what ensues in the shocking aftermath of the sudden, violent death of the successful author of a “honky-tonk Eat, Pray, Love,” when an old college friend of the murdered woman comes across an unpublished manuscript—one which could possibly lead to the writer’s killer. A former lexicographer, English teacher, children’s librarian, and Peace Corps volunteer, Emily Arsenault has found her true calling as an author of twisting, intelligent, emotional, and exceptionally compelling mystery fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Arsenault (The Broken Teaglass) offers a thoughtful reflection on country music, secrets, and relationships with her outstanding third mystery. Pregnant Jamie Madden, recently demoted “from health reporter to part-time night copy editor” at her budget-strapped newspaper, has been named the literary executor for her author friend, Gretchen Waters, who died from a fall down some stairs after giving a reading at a New Hampshire public library. Gretchen made her name with the bestselling Tammyland, a combination autobiography and study of the lives of country music stars such as Tammy Wynette, but she left behind an unfinished work with a darker tone. As Jamie looks into the manuscript, she finds information on the violent death of Gretchen’s biological mother, and wonders whether the author’s research into the past robbed her of a future. Arsenault’s lyrical, moving prose serves to make this more than just a compelling whodunit. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Best friends in college, Jamie and Gretchen drifted apart over the years, but Gretchen's sudden death leaves Jamie struggling to deal with the loss. When Gretchen's family asks Jamie to complete her new book, she discovers that her friend, a successful author, wasn't working on a second, breezy memoir but investigating the murder of her biological mother. As Jamie starts to ask her own questions, discrepancies between what she's hearing and what's been written leave her wondering whether Gretchen's death was truly accidental. VERDICT Multiple story lines that take place in multiple time periods and that focus on at least three of the main characters, plus chapters from Gretchen's published book and unfinished manuscript, all vie for attention, but should pose no problem for an alert reader. The characters come to life nicely, and subtle clues build to a surprising, satisfying conclusion. Readers who enjoyed Arsenault's first two novels (Broken Teaglass; In Search of the Rose Notes) and literary mystery authors like Megan Abbott and Laura Lippman will appreciate this slow-paced but thoughtful tale of how seemingly unimportant choices can bring unexpected consequences.—Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH
Kirkus Reviews
An uneven mystery about a murdered writer researching the suspicious death of her own mother. When Gretchen Waters dies, it appears to be a tragic accident: She falls down steep library steps after a reading of her memoir Tammyland. Her best friend, Jamie, a ripely pregnant journalist, is asked to become Gretchen's literary executor, which means she'll be organizing the vast quantities of notebooks, audio recordings and computer files that were to be Gretchen's next memoir. In this new memoir (Tammyland dealt with a divorce-inspired road trip merged with anecdotes of country music's tragic divas), Gretchen was focusing on the sad circumstances of her own childhood. Shelly was a teenager when she became pregnant with Gretchen, so her older sister, Linda, and her husband raised the baby. Gretchen would visit her mother on the weekends, until one day, Shelly was found beaten to death. Shelly's drunken boyfriend was acquitted, but everyone in the small New Hampshire town still thinks he did it. Jamie begins by simply organizing all the material, but when her house is broken into (the only things stolen are related to Gretchen) and it becomes clear that Gretchen's death was not an accident, she becomes an unlikely detective, attempting to piece together the last days of Gretchen's life. Arsenault builds the framework of a taut mystery--the present crime is directly related to the past--but the novel's pace is frequently slowed by excerpts from Tammyland and, to a lesser extent, Gretchen's field notes and rough drafts of the new memoir. Though Arsenault is playing with the idea of constructed realities, of multiple versions of truth, much is peripheral to the mystery and feels like a drag on the excitement being built as Jamie gets closer to the truth, and the murderer gets closer to Jamie. Flawed but affective.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

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Meet the Author

Emily Arsenault is also the author of The Broken Teaglass, In Search of the Rose Notes, Miss Me When I’m Gone, and What Strange Creatures. She lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with her husband and daughter.

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Miss Me When I'm Gone 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Mackie77 More than 1 year ago
I wish the star rating would address average instead of good; the lower numbers representative below average. The book was ok, not great; it passed the time. I found it very awkward jumping between the victim's past, notes for a new book, chapters from her old book, the friend who was trying to solve the murder while finishing victim's book, etc. I wasn't particularly very sympathic to either the victim or protagonist. The end was a let down, no exploration of character feelings, just whacked off at the end. It's done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not my kind of read It was a difficult story to read it switched so much between tthe characters I had a hard time It was good inspite of that
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a page turner....it was hard reading from one perspective and then another. At times I was bored and had to skip forward. The author didn't do a good job giving depth to the characters...i didnt finish the book. I bailed at chapter 35 when I found myself skipping forward too much. I lost interest.
THESELF-TAUGHTCOOK More than 1 year ago
Jamie is almost seven months pregnant when her college friend, Gretchen Waters, dies suddenly and under mysterious circumstances. Gretchen had been working on a follow-up to her first book, Tammyland, when she died, but when Jamie is given her notes, it appears that Gretchen had changed her plans for the book and was investigating her mother's murder and her paternity instead. It seems that someone has had a secret for many years, and that someone does not appreciate Jamie following up on Gretchen's notes. This novel had my interest from the very beginning. The front cover looked interesting; the back cover blurb sounded good, and when I started reading, I was hooked. When the back cover of a murder mystery mentions Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton, you know you've found something new. Growing up in Kentucky, I had heard quite a bit about Loretta and Dolly, but I actually learned quite a bit about Tammy (nice name, BTW). Ms. Arsenault's writing style holds the interest of the reader. Chapters of the current mystery are interspersed with chapters of Tammyland, the "memoirs" of Gretchen Waters. Great idea. She grabbed my attention on page 6 with her description of an email sent by Gretchen to Jamie. Jamie read it but did not respond, and then was riddled with guilt after Gretchen's death. This is the type of thing I can imagine doing. But the description of the email itself was what first caught my attention: "This was Gretchen's version of a drunk dial: a garbled email full of cryptic, vaguely sentimental insights without much context. (And with a little practical bit at the end, to make it all seem casual.)" This is a description half of my friends could give of my emails. It was slightly embarrassing seeing it in print, but knowing that a stranger had written that line meant that I had to read the rest of the book. And when it was finished, I was sorry to see it end. 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why do i reconise the title? *plays with cup* lol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The &female and The &male have s.e.x.