Sunday, April 7, 2013

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

There Was an Old Woman Cover Image

Mina Yetner has been recording the names of all other people she has known that have passed away.  She sometimes has memory problems, so looking at the names helps her to remember at times.  One day while sitting on her front porch, she hears a siren in the neighborhood and immediately rushes over to her neighbor Sandra Ferrante’s home.  She sees two EMT’s wheeling Sandra out on a stretcher.  But before she is taken away Sandra leaves Mina with a cryptic message:

“Please, tell Ginger,” Sandra said, pulling Mina close. “Don’t let him in until I’m gone.”
-Hallie Ephron, There Was an Old Woman: A Novel of Suspense 

Ginger contacts her sister Evie who is a senior curator at a museum in New York and informs her that their mom had a fall and dislocated her shoulder. Ginger wants Evie to be the one to take control of the situation this time and be there for their mom. Sandra has never been a responsible parent though. She is a drunk who is in denial and believes that she doesn't  have a drinking problem. Realizing Ginger is right, she takes some time off from work in order to help.

What she finds there is surprising to say the least. Sandra’s house is deteriorating. It’s quite clear that the house hasn't been taken care of in quite some time. Yet when Evie goes through the home she discovers expensive electronics and liquor, making her wonder where the money came from.

Strange things begin to happen to Mina in her home. Is it just Mina’s memory fading or something more?  She tries to figure out the cause with Evie. Soon these two ladies begin to realize that there is something strange an almost sinister like happening in the neighborhood.

Final thoughts:
This was an intriguing story that had me guessing for a short time period. By the first couple of chapters I wanted to keep reading to find out what was going on and why. The ending wasn’t very surprising, but the reasoning behind everything was. I thought that the pacing of the story was good and the writing seemed to flow. Evie and Mina are great characters. I especially liked Mina.  She was easy to like and want to get to know from early on in the story. There Was an Old Woman is good weekend read perfect for those who enjoy mystery/suspense.

Rating 3 ½ out of 5.

** I received this book courtesy of HarperCollins Publishing / William Morrow in exchange for nothing but my honest review. Thank you**

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