If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O
By Sharyn McCrumb
Sheriff Spencer Arrowood keeps the peace in his small Tennessee town most of the time. Every once in a while, though, something goes wrong.
When 1960s folksinger Peggy Muryan moves to town seeking solitude and a career comeback, and she receives a postcard with a threatening message, her idyll is shattered. Then a local girl who looks like Peggy vanishes without a trace.
Although she was once famous, Peggy has no fondness for the old times. Those days are best left forgotten for Spencer Arrowood, too. But sometimes the past can't rest, and those who try to forget it are doomed to relive it....
From Publishers Weekly
McCrumb surpasses lauded earlier novels, including 1988 Edgar winner Bimbos of the Death Sun , with this inventive mystery. Sheriff Spencer Arrowood remembers Peggy Muryan, a newcomer to Hamelin, Tenn., as a moderately popular folksinger of the 1960s. Hoping to compose fresh songs in the quiet town, Peggy instead attracts messages from a secret killer. Arrowood and Deputy Joe LeDonne answer her call for help and the latter, a Vietnam veteran, recognizes descriptions of the war's horrors in the threats. Peggy's dog is killed, and later a girl with a strong resemblance to her, but it's a long, suspenseful struggle for the sheriff and his right-hand man to learn the terrible, astonishing facts in the case. A superior mystery, the book is also a masterful drama of lives shaped by traumatic events, as McCrumb bares the psyches of her characters. Mystery Book Club selection.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
McCrumb resurrects the 1960s through the planning of a twentieth high-school reunion for the Class of '66, complete with music, clothing styles, and school activities of the era. While reunion preparations are taking place, someone sets into motion the systematic terrorization of Peggy Muryan, a folk singer who buys a big home in Hamelin, Tennessee, with the intention of writing new material and making a comeback. But before she can compose a note, her dog is hanged, butchered, and left with a military insignia carved into his skin. A cryptic postcard leads to the discovery of the body of a young teen who resembles the singer as she appears on her best-known record album. The writing is enlivened with slices of humorous dialogue, unusual characters, and a fast-paced plot. For those discovering the fun of reading mysteries, this a captivating choice. --Pam Spencer, Jefferson Sci-Tech, Alexandria, VA
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