Opal Jones ran away from home when she was twelve. Now, returning to Mote Street as a grown up after her mum’s death is like going back in time. Nosey Mrs. Pickess is still polishing her windows to a sparkle. Fishbo, her ancient music teacher, still plays his trumpet and leads his band. And to Opal’s delight, her favorite neighbour, Margaret Reid, is going strong.
It all looks the same, but everything has changed. Margaret’s grandson, Craig, disappeared ten years ago and, every day he’s not found, shame and sorrow settle deeper into the neighbourhood’s forgotten corners. Everyone has something to hide and when Opal decides to tackle the mystery of little Craig, she sirs up more secrets than she can bear about these people she thought she knew. Worst of all, the doors she closed on her own past start to open again.
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It’s all connected. Everything’s joined to everything. You think you can keep it all out of your head, if you concentrate hard. You think your brain’s in charge. And then Blammo! From nowhere, one little thread starts to fray, one little rock gets lifted and the light shines in. That’s when you know it’s your blood that runs the show. Your bowels. Your guts and your glands. When you’re shaking so hard you can’t talk and you’re breathing so fast you can’t think and all of your careful stories have blown away.
‘Tell me,’ he says, as the van rocks along. There isn’t another car or a single house in sight. The moor fog’s coming down.
‘Dunno if there’s time.’
‘Make time,’ he says. ‘Talk fast. Tell me now.’
‘Okay . . . Okay . . . Well, it’s all connected, see? That’s the main thing. I see that now. The mum and the dad and the boy and the girl. The little old lady and the poor old man. The baby that’s lost and the baby that’s . . .’ Big breath. Try again. ‘They’re all the same.’
‘Start at the start,’ he says, ‘and keep on til the end.’
‘When does it start?’
‘I suppose . . . I dunno.’
‘Once a upon a time then.’ And goosebumps pop up on her arms.
‘No! No more stories. It probably starts about . . . a month ago.’
‘So,’ he says, ‘once upon a month ago then.’
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KIRKUS STARRED REVIEW: “A stand-alone that is worlds apart … fascinating, mysterious … can’t put down.”
Release: June 2013
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Catriona is giving away one (1) copy of AS SHE LEFT IT. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends June 10; US entries only.
Meet the author
Catriona McPherson is the author of the Dandy Gilver series of mysteries, set in Scotland in the 1920s where – but not when – she was born. The series has been nominated for a CWA Dagger and a Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year award in the UK and she has won the Bruce Alexander Memorial Award and an Agatha Award for her Dandy Gilver series.
Since 2010, Catriona has lived on twenty acres in a beautiful valley in northern California where she is slowly learning to garden in a Mediterranean climate. The plants don’t look good but the blogs about them can be entertaining. Visit the Dandy Gilver website at www.dandygilver.com or Catriona’s blog at catrionamcpherson.blogspot.com.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.