Archive for 'Pickard, Nancy'
The Virgin of Small Plains is about a night in 1987 when a young man, Rex Shellenberger, finds the naked body of a young woman in a field, covered in snow. Rex and his friends Abby and Mitch and their fathers, the Sheriff, the Doctor, and the Judge, all become embroiled in the incidents surrounding the discovery of the body and their lives arenâ€™t the same after that night.
Rex grows up and becomes the Sheriff and he and Abby stay in town, but Mitch left town that night and doesnâ€™t return for 17 years. Abby never really understood his sudden departure, doesnâ€™t know he is back for revenge, and is still trying to piece together the events of that night. Slowly, she, Rex, and Mitch discover that everyone has a small piece of the puzzle and that, if they work together, the can see the bigger picture.
This book is like the dance of the seven veils â€“ a slow strip tease of information doled out for maximum titillation by Pickard, who allows the reader to see only what she wants you to until she is ready for the big reveal. As long as you enjoy the show and donâ€™t look too closely, everything is fine.
If you do look too closely, you see a lot of sleight of hand to make the plot work – improbable actions on the part of practically every character, intentionally misleading evidence that is never explained, and an unaccountable placidity that puts the town of Small Plains in suspended animation for 17 years and allows Mitch to return to find all the original cast of characters and vital evidence in place and untouched after all this time. Yes, this book is a page-turner because you want to see what is coming next, but when you get to the end you are just left shaking your head in disbelief.
Favorite character? Abby â€“ she is the only one whose actions arenâ€™t duplicitous. Did I guess it? In spite of the misleading evidence, yes. Will I read another? I have read and enjoyed many Nancy Pickard books and will again. Fortunately, this book is a stand-alone.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007