Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hahn, Mary Downing. Mister Death’s Blue-eyed Girls.

Hahn, Mary Downing.     Mister Death’s Blue-eyed Girls.     Houghton Mifflin/Clarion      330p  $16.99      978-0-547-76062-9           hs          VG-BN Realistic Fiction

Set in the 1950s, this is the story of a double murder, faith, grief, and false accusations.  Narrated by three of the key characters, Nora, Buddy and Mister Death and with the diaries of the two murdered girls, Cheryl and Bobbi Jo, the reader is able to follow the path of the murder and its consequences.  The story begins when Mister Death is rebuffed and mocked by Cheryl and Bobbi Jo at a dance, and the following morning the murders occur.  However, Buddy is the obvious suspect because he was recently dumped by Cheryl.  The narratives then follow the consequences and emotions endured by all involved. Aside from Buddy, Nora is the most impacted by the murders, and her questioning of not only the crime but also of her Catholic faith and her friendships is the predominant voice in this novel.  In the afterword, the author reveals that this story is based on a murder that occurred when she was a teenager in Maryland, and as in the novel, the murderer was not caught.  Perhaps if this information had been provided in a foreword, it would have added an edge to the book that was otherwise missing.  While this reader found herself at times skimming through pages to avoid the narrative, the insight and writing will no doubt be engaging for YA readers.  It is a highly recommended addition to high-school and public-library collections.  The topic and writing will surely engage YA readers.     

Murder – Fiction, Mystery – Fiction                         -- Lynn Fisher   

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