Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sharyn McCrumb


In October, 2003, Sharyn McCrumb came to Marietta to sign her books at a book shop. Sharyn McCrumb is on the right and mystery writer Patricia Sprinkler is on the left.

Sharyn McCrumb is a writer. I stumbled across one of her audio novels at the library when I was recovering from a heart attack.

The name of the novel was “The Ballad of Frankie Silver”. She narrated the story in her Virginia accent. It was a story based on facts of the first woman that reportedly was hung in North Carolina. The story takes place (in the past) in and out of Morganton, NC, and a fictitious town in Tennessee, almost on the NC state border (the present). It was very good book, since I have bought the book and read it again and as far as I can tell is historically accurate. As far as the present time in the little town near the Tennessee-North Carolina border is a cast of characters that appear in all of Sharyn McCrumb Ballad novels: A sheriff, who has a laid back attitude that hates to see anyone in trouble, a deputy, who is more the Steve McQueen type, a dispatcher who graduated the same year from high school as the Sheriff did, and an eccentric lady who has the sixth sense of seeing dead people. All through her ballad novels the lady sees dead people come and go.

Then she has another series of books of mystery, or who-done-it novels that take place mostly take place in the south part of Virginia, near the area that Tennessee and North Carolina meet. The main protagonist is Elizabeth MacPherson, who is not a wise detective or anything. Her brother is a lawyer she seems to stumble across dead people and she kind of stumbles on the truth as the story unfolds.

In 2003 she came out with the book “Ghost Riders” which is about the Civil War in North Carolina and shows what a terrible thing it is to be civilian victims of war and sometimes the home guard is your worse enemy. Unfortunately, it came out about the same time “Cold Mountain” came out, so “Cold Mountain” overshadowed it, but I think Ghost Riders is better.

More recently she published “St. Dale” which is book which looks at NASCAR racing and Dale Ernhart magnetism. In the book she has a travel agency sponsered tour bus of all different types of people to take a pilgrimage of a sort, to all of the places “St. Dale” raced at and they are to place a reef at each place. It is similar in a way to The Canterbury Tales, and also similar to a bus tour Elizabeth MacPerson went on in England, on a British Mystery Writer Tour.

I like both series because it is great study of that area of the country and she knows how to pick up the pulse of the population in these small mountain towns.

Now, I just read she is planning another book about NASCAR. This time the story plot is a woman racer.

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