Monday, April 22, 2013

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

Evie Ferrante gets a phone call from her sister, Ginger, who says that their mother, Sandra, is in the hospital.  Sandra is an alcoholic and her house has now been declared a health risk by the authorities.When Evie gets to her mother's home in the Bronx, she is stunned by how run down and dirty it is.  She is also surprised to find lots of expensive vodka (not Sandra's brand) and cans of cat food--even though Sandra doesn't own a cat. Evie wonders what's been going on in her mother's life.  Sandra's 91-year-old next door neighbor, Mina Yetner, feels that her neighbor across the street, Frank Cutler is up to something.  However, Mina may not be reliable--she discovers her purse in the refrigerator and objects moved around her house.  Is she losing her mind or is someone trying to make her think that she is?  Her nephew, Brian, has been trying to get her to move to a retirement community for a while.  Is something sinister going on in the neighborhood of Higgs Point? If so, who is responsible?  In There Was an Old Woman, Ephron has written a softer-edged suspense novel that's hard to put down.  She fills the story with characters you care about in Evie and Mina and an interesting secondary story involving the two of them.

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