Based on a true unsolved crime from 1877, Laurie Glenn Norris’s debut novel tells the story of two small towns linked by the disappearance of a teenage girl. Mary Harney is a dreamy teenager in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, whose ambitions are stifled by her tyrannical grandmother and alcoholic father. When Mary’s mother becomes ill, an already fragile domestic situation quickly begins to unravel until the September evening when the girl goes missing.
Across the water on Prince Edward Island we meet Gilbert Bell, whose son finds a body washed up on the beach below the family farm. As the community is visited first by the local coroner and then by investigators, Glenn Norris paints a fascinating and darkly comic picture of judicial and forensic procedures of the time. At once tightly plotted and pensive, the novel travels back to the circumstances that led to Mary’s disappearance and then back further to the circumstances of her parents’ marriage, all the while building toward a raucous courtroom finale.
About the author
Laurie Glenn Norris is a writer, researcher and art historian. Her articles and book reviews have appeared in the Quill & Quire, Atlantic Books Today, Telegraph-Journal(Saint John) and the Daily Gleaner (Fredericton).
Laurie’s first book, Cumberland County Facts and Folklore (Nimbus), was published in 2009; her second, Haunted Girl: Esther Cox and the Great Amherst Mystery, with Barbara Thompson, (Nimbus) 2012, was a finalist for the 2013 Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing and in 2015 it was optioned for a feature film.
Laurie lives in River Hebert, Nova Scotia with her husband Barry, a free-lance editor, and four naughty kitty cats.