cover image Come to the Window

Come to the Window

Howard Norman. Norton, $27.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-324-07633-9

Norman follows up The Ghost Clause with a stunning literary mystery set in 1918 Nova Scotia. On the same night a whale washes ashore in the small town of Parrsboro, bigamist Elizabeth Frame murders her second husband in their bed. Reporter Toby Havenshaw is assigned to cover the trial, but he’s more focused on reuniting with his wife, Amelia, a surgeon who’s just returned from the frontlines of WWI. As Elizabeth’s case wears on, Toby documents it in erudite diary entries. Things turn scandalous when Elizabeth and the court reporter, Peter Lear, run away together. As Amelia deals with an outbreak of Spanish flu and Toby records his efforts to track the runaway outlaws in his diary, he draws insights on the shifting world around him from sources as wide-ranging as Heraclitus, Robert Louis Stevenson, and L.M. Montgomery. With sensitive attunement to the grief and uncertainty of the postwar years, Norman constructs an engrossing period piece that speaks to the present moment without losing sight of the engrossing crime at its center. This is humane, original, and easy to devour in a single sitting. (July)