Nancy Pearl, noted National Public Radio (NPR) commentator and former librarian, mentioned her search for plot heavy books and fast-moving stories to read over the summer. Summer is over where Nancy lives, but it never goes away here, and my need for plot driven books just surfaced.
Reviewing Nancy Pearl’s list for NPR, I found three books. Only one is in my library system, but I sent away for all three, on my couch potato internet shopping spree (I bought cookies and nuts too). I hope all meet my expectations.
The first is a murder mystery – Design for Dying by Renee Patrick
In 1937, a young woman named Lillian Frost comes to Hollywood to make her fortune. She’s very beautiful, and like many girls at that time, she wants to be discovered by some famous director who sits next to her at a soda fountain. Then, one of her former roommates is found dead wearing a dress that has been stolen from the Paramount Studios. Lillian recognizes the dress and decides to take on the job of finding out whodunit.
Pearl promises “great fun” as the detectives meet movie stars in their youth – Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck among the classic movie greats. Although the book was published last year, the second in this series, Dangerous to Know, has already been published
The second is Lions by Bonnie Nazdam.
Pearl hooked me with her comment: …”fans of Kent Haruf’s novels will find this novel to their liking…” Although Robert Redford playing Louis Waters, Haruf’s character lead in the movie version of one of his best books, Our Souls at Night, may have some merit, I miss Haruf’s writing, and I missed this book when it was published last year.
Lions is the story of the last 11 people who live in a Colorado town; the story focuses on Gordon, and his longtime girlfriend, Leigh, who have for years planned to go away to school and escape the town. Sounds deliciously ironic.
And finally, a new novel just published and the one hardback in the group, The Widow Nash by Jamie Harrison
When Dulcy’s father dies in 1904, he takes the secret of where his wealth is stashed with him. Posing as his widow, she sets off on an adventure in Montana to find his fortune.
Pearl says: “What keeps you reading is not just the quality of the writing…but also to find out: Is she going to do this? Can this be successful? Or is she going to be found out? ” Jean Zimmerman for the New York Times lists The Widow Nash as one of the new novels “depicting valiant women of old America.”
Nancy Pearl says – “I want the pages to turn…” so do I…and the time to fly…
Related Review: Our Souls At Night