Teri Holbrook

The Mother Tongue

Bantam Books 2001
ISBN 0-553-57719-0

Christina says:

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After her excursion to England, historian Gale Grayson has retired once more to her native Statler's Cross, Georgia, this time to write her own story, namely a book about her marriage to Tom Grayson, a poet who turned terrorist and committed suicide. Unfortunately, she doesn’t find the peace she desired in her grandmother's house. Just when her friend Chief Inspector Daniel Halford of Scotland Yard is visiting her, a triple murder happens in the seemingly peaceful small town in the South of the US.

Like in the first three instalments of the series Teri Holbrook succeeds in portraying the very special atmosphere of her setting. The readers are transported to Statler's Cross, a small town in the South of the United States, where nearly everybody knows everybody else and newcomers are looked on with a wary eye, especially if they are Vietnamese immigrants and paint their house bright blue. Holbrook unmasks the bigots as well as the feigned liberals, and in the end the victims, too.

Beside the mystery, The Mother Tongue also contains a book in the book, this time Gale's memoirs where she reflects upon her life with Tom whose eco-terrorism, which she didn't notice at first or didn't want to notice, still determines her life and the life of her daughter Katie Pru. Just like her protégée Nadianna Jessup with whom she found refuge in her Grandmother Ella's house, she has reached a turning point in her life.

The Mother Tongue is a mystery without chases, wild shootings and tough heroes; instead it has to offer a dense atmosphere and vivid characters. For me, Katie Pru Grayson is still the most believable child in crime fiction.

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