If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O (Ballad Series #1)

If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O (Ballad Series #1)

by Sharyn McCrumb

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Overview

Sheriff Spencer Arrowood keeps the peace in his small Tennessee town most of the time. Every once in a while, though, something goes wrong.

When 1960s folksinger Peggy Muryan moves to town seeking solitude and a career comeback, and she receives a postcard with a threatening message, her idyll is shattered. Then a local girl who looks like Peggy vanishes without a trace.

Although she was once famous, Peggy has no fondness for the old times. Those days are best left forgotten for Spencer Arrowood, too. But sometimes the past can't rest, and those who try to forget it are doomed to relive it....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345369062
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/1991
Series: Ballad Series , #1
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 511,314
Product dimensions: 4.17(w) x 6.85(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

Sharyn McCrumb is an internationally acclaimed New York Times bestselling author whose work has been honored with all five of the major awards in crime fiction (Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and Nero)--and two Best Appalachian Novel awards. She is the creator of the esteemed Ballad Novel series, the first of which--If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O--was a New York Times Notable Book. The most recent installment in her satirical mystery series featuring forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson is If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him....

Ms. McCrumb lives in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband David and their two younger children, less than a hundred miles from the Smoky Mountain valley where her ancestors settled in 1790.

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If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O (Ballad Series #1) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Romonko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this first book in Sharyn McCrumb's Appalachian mystery series. The book revolves around the planning for a 20 anniversary high school reunion, and it therefore covered the mid to late sixties, so the music, the history, and everything was actually from my era, so that made it fun. I am a 60's music buff, so I enjoyed the references to 60's folk and rock music very much. It is actually quite a surprising plot, and the killer turns out to be a real surprise. I also enjoyed the Tennessee countryside and the small town atmosphere. I am really looking forward to reading more about Sheriff Arrowood and Deputy Joe LeDonne looks to be a very interesting character. This Vietnam vet carries a lot of baggage as so many Vietnam vets do, but it makes him interesting and mysterious. Masterfully written, and a real page-turner is how I would describe this book.
michaelm42071 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O is the first book of what Sharyn McCrumb calls her ballad series: each title comes from a folk ballad and the books are all set in Appalachia, though not all feature the same characters. This one is set in east Tennessee, on the other side of the Appalachians from where McCrumb grew up, and although there are some touches of local color, they are light touches. A few folk songs and parts of others are included, and we visit some picturesque mountain folk. Mostly the characters are ones you¿d recognize from any small town, including the village crazy, who in this case shows up in the town square every day dressed in a different costume: today he¿s Superman, tomorrow it may be Elvis or Roy Orbison.The main character of this book, Spencer Arrowood, is named after McCrumb¿s grandfather. Arrowood is nearing forty, divorced, and very much at home in the small Tennessee town where he is sheriff, somewhere near Johnson City, well up in the mountains. Arrowood¿s dispatcher, along with two of her friends, is organizing the 20th reunion of her high school class, which is also the sheriff¿s. Spencer¿s deputy is a hard-boiled Vietnam Vet. Memories of Vietnam and its era make up the theme of the book; the reunion and the return to the area of a once famous folk singer from the sixties are the two events that drive the plot. A notable feature of the book is that these characters and a few others not only hold our interest, but keep providing surprises as McCrumb develops them further.Another notable feature is the very novel way McCrumb handles what looks at first like it¿s going to be a conventional suspenseful ending, with the vulnerable woman cornered by the psychopath and the hero rushing to save her. You might be able to guess part of this ending, but I guarantee it will mostly be a surprise. This is the first of five books featuring Spencer Arrowood. McCrumb has another detective series about a forensic anthropologist named Elizabeth MacPherson, and she has also written two satiric books about murder at Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions, with the fetching titles of Bimbos of the Death Star and Zombies of the Gene Pool.. Her most recent book is about the adulation of race car driver Dale Earnhardt. She¿s clearly a versatile writer, grounded in an area she knows well.
delphimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the earlier novels of Sharyn McCrumb, and she has not fine-tuned her approach to writing. McCrumb utilizes folk songs of yore to enhance the story. The main elements of the story are the twenty-year high school reunion, the plight of Viet Nam veterans, and the appearance of a popular folk singer. McCrumb portrays the veteran as if she actually served a tour of duty in Viet Nam. I am not sure that I really like Sheriff Spencer Arrowood. He seems weak and beset with demons. His life is a refrain of old songs from the 1960's and 1970's. This story does not have the extensive casts of players and seen in later novels. The quirky mountain people are absent from this work.
Jim53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this for my face-to-face library mystery group. McCrumb (one of my favorite authors) does a great job with several things: none of the characters are all good or all bad, she uses several songs quite effectively to illuminate the story, and she introduces the facts about the sheriff in just the right order to help us get to know him. The mystery itself is probably the weakest part of the book. I like several of the other Ballad novels better, but this one is a good introduction to some recurring characters, and a pretty good mystery compared to many by other authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago