Related to: 'The Case is Closed'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Girl In The Cellar

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth
Hodder & Stoughton

Pilgrim's Rest

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth
Hodder & Stoughton

The Watersplash

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

To the innocent visitor the picturesque village of Greenings would appear to be a haven of tranquility. But every place has its secrets and beneath the calm surface lurk hidden resentments and dangerous passions. When a man is found lying face down in a nearby watersplash, the verdict is death by misadventure. But Miss Silver happens to be in the neighbourhood and she suspects foul play ...

Hodder Paperbacks

The Catherine-Wheel

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth
Hodder Paperbacks

Eternity Ring

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

Mary Stokes was walking through Dead Man's Copse one evening when she saw, in the beam of a torch, the corpse of a young woman dressed in a black coat, black gloves, no hat and an eternity ring set with diamonds in her ear. But when she and Detective Sergeant Frank Abbott went back to the wood the body had vanished.This would have been mystery enough for Miss Silver to solve if a woman had not also reported that her lodger had gone out on Friday dressed in a black coat, black beret, black shoes and large hoop earrings 'set all round with little diamonds like those eternity rings.' She never came back...

Hodder Paperbacks

The Case of William Smith

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

Who was William Smith? And why was Mavis Jones so horrified to see him? For seven years William had worked as a woodcarver for the local toyshop, ignorant of his true identity. The war had robbed him of his memory, and no one expected him to ever find the answer. So when he took his work to Evesleys Ltd, why was his life instantly in danger?When William makes the frightening discovery that there are people determined not to let his memory return whatever the cost, Miss Silver is called in to investigate. But will she uncover their treachery before Mavis strikes again...?

Hodder Paperbacks

The Key

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

It's nearing the end of WWII, and Michael Harsh has been working for the government on a secret project for years. Finally he is ready to hand over the formula. But the next morning he is dead. It looks like suicide. Only Miss Silver knows it's murder.

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Miss Silver Intervenes

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

When her fiancé disappears in a shipwreck, Meade Underwood is left with nothing but a middle-aged aunt, bridge parties and war work to keep her mind off it. Then Giles is restored to Meade, but he has lost his memory, and their chance of happiness is threatened by the scheming Carola Roland, a figure from Giles's forgotten past. So when Carola is viciously murdered, Giles is naturally the chief suspect, and Miss Silver the only one who can find out what really happened.

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Vanishing Point

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth
Hodder Paperbacks

The Gazebo

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

For Althea Graham, suffering the whims of her malevolent invalid of a mother, the old family home is a prison. So when two strangely competitive offers for the Graham's house are made to her it suggests that house may hold some dark rewarding secret. Then old Mrs Graham is found murdered in the gazebo . . .

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Through the Wall

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

Martin Brand's relatives are furious that he's left his large estate to his niece, Marion, whom he had only met once. And Marion is upset that she has to share her new home with Martin's family. Then a body is found on the beach wearing her coat. Fortunately Miss Silver is on the scene.

Hodder Paperbacks

Out Of The Past

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth
Coronet

The Fingerprint

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

Hodder Paperbacks

Anna, Where Are You?

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

There is no doubt in Thomasina Elliott's mind that her oldest schoolfriend is a creature of habit. So when, after three years of regular correspondence, Anna's letters suddenly stop, Thomasina becomes concerned. And even more so when it transpires that her friend has disappeared without trace, in extremely odd circumstances. Fortunately, however, the indomitable Miss Silver is on hand to investigate.

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Lonesome Road

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

There were times when Rachel Treherne fervently wished that her beloved father had left his fortune to somebody else, so overburdened did she feel with the administration of her estate. And never more so than now for, although she was surrounded by relatives who depended on her, whom she loved and who must surely love her, there was no doubt in her mind that somebody was trying to kill her.Threatening letters could be ignored, odd tasting chocolates can be rejected but when snakes are left in her bed, Rachel is convinced that someone means here terrible harm. Her only chance of a future life lay with Miss Silver, and Miss Silver was well on the way to unmasking the murderer when they struck again.

Hodder Paperbacks

Miss Silver Comes to Stay

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

When he was 21 James Lessiter told Henrietta Cray that he loved her before all things and so broke Catherine Lee’s heart. But James has a side to him that most people do not see. When the engagement is broken off noone is sure why and Rietta refuses to explain. Twenty years later James returns to the village an extremely wealthy man. Rietta is still unmarried and Catherine is a penniless widow living in a cottage on the Lessiter estate. Trouble is inevitable, for Catherine has started to sell some of the valuable contents of the cottage to keep up a lifestyle she cannot afford but James has his suspicions and is looking forward to exposing her. He has always enjoyed seeing someone else suffer whatever the cost. When he is brutally murdered there all too many people who would benefit from his death but fortunately Miss Silver is ready to investigate.

Hodder & Stoughton

LADIES BANE HPB

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth
Hodder Paperbacks

The Alington Inheritance

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth
Hodder Paperbacks

Traveller Returns

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

Anne Jocelyn had been a beautiful, wealthy young woman. She had died three years ago. At least, that was what her husband Philip and the rest of the family had always thought. But then a woman calling herself Anne Jocelyn appeared and managed to convince everyone that she was the real Anne. Everyone, that is, except Miss Silver, whose suspicions are aroused by an apparently senseless murder.

Coronet

Spotlight

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth