Rattling The Bones
Rattling the Bones by Ann Granger.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group (2007)
Fran Varady is walking through Camden one day when she notices a familiar figure shuffling ahead of her. It's "mad Edna", the bag lady who had, in a manner of speaking, been her neighbor when she'd been living in a squat in Rotherhithe a few years ago. Now Edna is in a hostel and still roaming the streets, but before Fran can find out more, Edna becomes agitated and hurries away. What could have spooked her? Surely the young man watching them could not possibly be interested in this harmless old lady? Fran's instinct tells her something's wrong and, sure enough, when a dead body turns up she has every reason to fear the worst...
Determined to protect Edna from harm, Fran finds herself digging into the past, and the tragic story of a love affair and a family quarrel comes to light. But, by rattling the bones of Edna's earlier life, Fran's detective skills uncover far more than she's bargained for.
Oh my, but this book grabbed me so fast I'm not sure what hit me!
I have never read any books by Ann Granger (and she is very prolific! having written more then one series of crime books) and, par for the coarse I picked this up at a thrift store, noting the price on the back indicated it was sold in England and a sticker for a Canada price but no American price. (hmm, a mystery in itself?!)
Anyway.. I love the characters and loved the way this author writes! It's more like your friend sitting next to you chatting then some high literature person using words you aren't certain of.
When she described "mad Edna" in the early stages of the mystery I knew she had me... I laughed out loud and thought... OMG! just call me "mad Edna"! lol I have to quote if from the book:
Fran was talking to Mad Edna and Edna mentioned that she thought she was engaged once... but couldn't remember..
"It was impossible to tell how she once looked. The general shape of her face was round but her chin was pointed. Heart-shaped, they call that. Only in Edna's case the whole thing had sagged. Her eyebrows had fallen out and were represented only by a sparse scattering of grey hairs. She'd compensated by growing a few hairs on the chin. Her eyes were deep set and heavy-lidded and the eyelashes had gone the way of the eyebrows. Yet, I noticed for the first time that her skin was very fine, like a piece of crumpled silk."
If Ann Granger had not become a writer she would be a stand up comic I am sure!
The book lines are not cramped, the chapters are not long...and it's very fast reading, along with a nice mystery and very good characters. I understand there are a number of other "Fran Varaday" novels so I will be seeing if I can get another used one. I totally enjoyed this book, and the author.