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

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.

Hodder & Stoughton

Pilgrim's Rest

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

A bloody curse fells four...Judy Elliot, meeting an old friend, Detective Sergeant Abbott tells him that, having been left the custody of her motherless little niece, she is taking a domestic job in the country with a family named Pilgrim. Frank is appalled, mysterious deaths have been taking place there. A curse is on the house of Pilgrim's Rest and by the time Miss Silver investigates she has four murders to solve.

Hodder & Stoughton

Miss Silver Comes to Stay

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
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.

Hodder Paperbacks

Miss Silver Intervenes

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

When her fiancé, Giles Armitage, is lost at sea in the middle of the Second World War, Meade Underwood is left in the company of a middle-aged aunt with nothing but a monotonous round of bridge parties and war work to fill her days. A chance encounter restores Giles to Meade but he has lost his memory, and their rediscovered happiness is threatened by the machinations of the scheming Carola Roland, a figure from Giles's forgotten past. So when Carola is viciously murdered, Giles becomes the chief suspect and it takes all Miss Silver's ingenuity to unravel the real significance of the crime and its electrifying consequences.

Hodder Paperbacks

Vanishing Point

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

Nothing much ever seemed to happen in the sleepy village of Hazel Green apart from the occasional tea-party, spiced with local gossip. Until Maggie Bell went out one evening for a breath of fresh air and never came back.Could Maggie's disappearance be linked to security leaks at the nearby Air Ministry? Or is a sinister scheme being hatched closer to home? Miss Silver is called in to solve the mystery just as a second person goes missing . . .

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 . . .

Hodder Paperbacks

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
Hodder Paperbacks

Lonesome Road

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth
Hodder & Stoughton

LADIES BANE HPB

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

Hodder Paperbacks

The Alington Inheritance

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth

Jenny is 18 when her guardian is killed and her wealthy relations the Forbes invite her to stay. Consoled by the affectionate attentions of their little girls and the charming elder son, she starts to find her feet again. Then she overhears a private conversation and realises she is in terrible danger. Terrified and bewildered, Jenny flees from the village, desperately hoping her enemies will forget all about her. But she's wrong . . .

Coronet

Spotlight

Patricia Wentworth
Authors:
Patricia Wentworth