cover image Grandghost


Nancy Springer. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8792-4

At the start of this sprightly tale of longing and renewal from Edgar-winner Springer (Dark Lie), Beverly Vernon, a children’s books illustrator who has recently settled in a small Florida Panhandle town following her husband’s death, receives bad news from her literary agent in New York—her most recent book is unsalable. Depressed, she realizes that most of her contemporaries are filling their days by doting on grandchildren, something her two adult daughters are unlikely to provide. In this state of mind, she makes a start on a portrait of the ideal granddaughter: violet-eyed, golden-haired, and dressed for a party. That evening, while digging up some bricks in the backyard, she uncovers the skeleton of a small child. The following morning, Beverly notices that the portrait has been altered: the girl now has a grim expression. Is she going mad? So begins her quest to identify the buried child, whom the police believe to have been murdered. Beverly’s wit and humanity keep this highly readable novel grounded when it blossoms into fully fledged fantasy. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Agency. (Aug.)