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Carolyn G. Hart
If forensic anthropologist and ameteur slueth Elizabeth MacPherson is to have tea with the Queen of England, she has to get married first. And in the space of five weeks, she plans to do just that. When an old neighbor receives word that her husband has died again, it's up to Elizabeth to determine just whose ashes the double widow has been cursing at all these years....
From Mystery Writers of America award winner Sharyn McCrumb, author of MacPHERSON'S LAMENT, and IF I'D KILLED HIM WHEN I MET HIM...
Readers and reviewers alike also have lauded Ms. McCrumb for her inspired chronicles of forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson. In her newest tale in the MacPherson saga, McCrumb examines society's fascination with beauty--and the deceptiveness of outer appearances. Elizabeth herself, hospitalized for depression over her missing husband, learns that insanity liberates one from polite hypocrisy, enabling a "crazy lady" to remark: "Anorexia is not a disease; it's a career move."
Out in the real world, Elizabeth's brother Bill has bought a stately old mansion to use as his law office, only to find that the house comes with a charming codger-in-residence who is far too old to be a dangerous outlaw. . . isn't he? Meanwhile, the steel magnolia who is Bill's law partner is trying to track down the PMS Outlaws--an escaped convict and her fugitive attorney--who are cruising pickup joints and wreaking a peculiar vengeance on lust-crazed men.
Sharyn McCrumb's incisive wit and her genius for mirroring everyday life are once again on full display. The PMS Outlaws is an outrageous parable of modern mores, where beauty is the weapon, and nobody is safe.
*The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Bestseller
Set in the Appalachian wilderness and blending legends and folklore with high suspense, this stellar novel, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, is considered one of McCrumb's crowning achievements.
In 1833 Frankie Silver was an eighteen-year-old girl convicted of murder in Burke County, North Carolina. Through a detailed investigation, the local sheriff, and soon all the townsfolk, discover reason to question her guilt---but the wheels of justice were mercilessly unstoppable, and she was hanged.
Now, more than a century later, another woman is convicted of murder in the lush hills of Tennessee. Her life is in the hands of Spencer Arrowood, a man who begins to discover that the convictions of these two women have deep and haunting parallels. Although Frankie's fate cannot be changed, there is still time to alter the fate of another innocent woman.
In a voice that could only be Sharyn McCrumb's, the worlds of these two murders, these two women, intersect in this densely plotted and lyrical novel—and characters, generations, and history are breathlessly painted against an Appalachian canvas.
When delicate Eileen Chandler is set to marry, her family fears the man is a fortune hunter. Thank goodness, Eileen's cousin Elizabeth MacPherson comes early for support. Unfortunately, Elizabeth also has some detecting to do, as a dead body is found, and none of the wedding party is above suspicion....
"A good deal of suspense...McCrumb writes with a sharp-pointed pen."
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Lakin, West Virginia, 1930: Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P.D. Gardner finds himself under the care of Dr. James Boozer. Testing a new talking cure for insanity, Boozer encourages his elderly patient to share his experiences as the first black attorney to practice law in 19th-century West Virginia. His memorable case: defending a white man on trial for the murder of his young bride—a case that the prosecution based on the testimony of a ghost.
Greenbrier, West Virginia, 1897: Beautiful, willful Zona Heaster has always lived in the mountains. Despite her mother’s misgivings, Zona marries the handsome Erasmus Trout Shue, Greenbrier’s newest resident and blacksmith. Her mother learns of her daughter’s death weeks later. A month after the funeral, Zona’s mother makes a chilling claim to the county prosecutor: her daughter was murdered, and she was told this by none other than Zona’s ghost...
With her unique and “real knack for crafting full-bodied characters and using folklore to construct compelling plots” (Booklist), Sharyn McCrumb effortlessly demonstrates her place among the finest Southern writers at work today.
Historian Jeremy Cobb is backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, attempting to retrace the tragic journey of Katie Wyler, who was kidnapped by the Shawnee in 1779, and who escaped, making her way home through hundreds of miles of wilderness. Jeremy has no trail experience, but he is determined to complete his scholarly quest or die trying. He doesn't know that the spirit of Katie Wyler is still seen wandering the hills, trying to get home. Mountain wise woman Nora Bonesteel sees her every autumn "when the air is crisp, and the light is slanted, and the birds are still."
Bill's feminist firebrand partner, A. P. Hill, does her damnedest for Eleanor, an abused wife in denial, and Bill gallantly defends Donna Jean. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's forensic expertise, including her special knowledge of poisons, gives her the most challenging case of her career. . . .
The year is 1936 and society provides no safety net for newly widowed Ellie Robbins, a woman in a small mountain town who suddenly has to support her family on her own. She’s not trained to be a teacher or a nurse, the only respectable careers for a woman. So in order to care for her children, Ellie takes the only job available: that of her late husband, the sheriff.
Ellie has long proven that she can handle herself, and her role as sheriff is largely symbolic. Yet the wariness of her male subordinates and the townspeople is palpable. Soon, as dark secrets come to light, Ellie is forced to grapple with the tenuous ties she shares with a convicted killer and the small-town superstitions that have plagued her for years.
When a condemned killer is sentenced to death for his crime, her opportunity to do so presents itself in a way she never expected. There’s one task that only a sheriff can carry out: the execution of a convicted prisoner.
Atmospheric and suspenseful, Prayers the Devil Answers is rich with the same masterful attention to historical detail and captivating folklore that you cherished in McCrumb’s renowned Ballad novels. Her luscious writing brings her unforgettable characters to life with the “pure poetry” (The New York Times Book Review) that defines her astounding novels. Prayers the Devil Answers is a mesmerizing depiction of one woman’s tenacity and strength in even the most harrowing of circumstances.
Forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson gets a chance to revel in the rites of the old country at the annual Glencoe Mountain Games, the Scottish festival where several hundred like-minded Americans celebrate their ancestors' folkways. But the innocent ethnic fair is cursed when the loathed Colin Campbell is found murdered.
Then a second murder silences everyone's bagpipes for good. Enter Elizabeth, who make short work of her search for motive and murderer.
“I had a great time at Sharyn McCrumb's inimitable version of the Highland games.”—Charlotte MacLeod