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There Was an Old Woman: A Novel of Suspense (edition 2013)

by Hallie Ephron

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9113132,676 (3.88)1
Member:omphalos02
Title:There Was an Old Woman: A Novel of Suspense
Authors:Hallie Ephron
Info:William Morrow (2013), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:advance proof

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There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

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When you turn that last page and say to yourself "this can't be all" you know you've read a good one.

I loved the characters, the setting, Evie's job, and the mystery. Had a hunch about the villain but was only partially right.

Will have to check out more from this author ( )
  busyreadin | May 31, 2014 |
Excellent! More than just a mystery/thriller, it also is a study in aging and dealing with a parent's death. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | May 12, 2013 |
I like mysteries such as this. It's books like Hallie Ephron's that recommend to readers of this genre looking for a new author. Like Laura Lippman, Ephron has created a story that is enthralling enough that many avid readers can finish it in a weekend easily and enjoy the entire process. I know I did! ( )
  jcmontgomery | May 3, 2013 |
There Was an Old Woman is labeled as a suspense novel, and I suppose that's technically true. To my mind, however, it is also a wake-up call to all of us about how easily in real life vulnerable old people, particularly women, are being taken advantage of all too often. You are old, maybe neglected, live alone and possibly have physical and/or mental issues. That makes you an easy target for unscrupulous con artists, maybe even relatives who want what little you have.

In this wonderful novel each character is so real that the reader really cares about them, or hates them and enjoys seeing their plans go awry. Evie Ferrante is our heroine. She is a curator at the Five-Boroughs Historical Society and she is shepherding a historical artifact from the Empire State Building to feature in her first exhibition. The topic is major fires in New York City, a natural for her since her beloved father had been a firefighter. It was not a good time for her sister to call and demand her help because their mother was hospitalized in bad shape.

That takes Evie back to the neighborhood where she grew up and into the middle of a terrible mess. Mom is an alcoholic and her house looks like a hoarder's. There doesn't appear to have been any maintenance done on the house in years and it is literally falling apart. Evie is sad and discouraged, but when she talks to the neighbor Mina Yetner, the woman becomes a link to the happier past and a friend.

She also meets other neighbors and the man who has taken over his father's general store down the street. He at least is good looking and intelligent, and he is very helpful in her attempts to make the house safe and clean. Mina's nephew on the other hand is obviously up to no good as he seems to spend more and more time with her, and try to keep Evie away.

I was so involved in this story I could hardly put the book down. I figured out early in the book what was happening, although I under-estimated the extent of the crimes. It was the characters who kept me turning the pages, cheering for the old women and hoping Evie could save them from the evil in their midst. It is a psychological rather than violent mystery, but there is a bit of violence involved. I guarantee you will be horrified at the damage done to the victims in the story.

I also enjoyed the history of New York City that is a large part of the story and I think you will too. This is a unique novel and I enjoyed every page of it.

Highly recommended
Source: Publisher through Partners in Crime Book Tours ( )
  bjmitch | May 1, 2013 |
Arguably, There Was an Old Woman is a New York sort of mystery. There's very little violence or gore. Instead, we are drawn in by Ephron's descriptions of Higgs Point as a neighborhood, the period finishings in Mina Yetner's home, the description of the young curator's job and her upcoming exhibit of the history of the Empire State Building.

Through the story of Mina Yetner, Ephron takes us to the Depression and what it was like for a young woman working her first job in New York City and in the iconic Empire State Building. Mina's choice to work came at a time of freedom and employment for women and as we read Mina's story, we're drawn in, imagining this unique time.

It struck me that in There Was an Old Woman, the main, pivotal characters, those that carry the action forward are women from the young art historian and curator to Mina, who in her youth moved to New York City to build a life and worked at the Empire State Building.

Not that the book lacks mystery. There is psychological suspense as we wonder whether the events that Mina describes are actually happening or if she's slowly deteriorating. There is drama as well - families divided by alcoholism, greed, and disappointment. There's romance with the dashing lawyer who has stopped practicing law and has opted to run his family business, the corner store.

Ephron's writing is clear, I focused completely on the characters and story, drawn into the build up and development without noticing anything else. I kept wondering what would happen next. If you're looking for a fun read set in New York City, check out There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron.

ISBN-10: 0062117602 - Hardcover $26
Publisher: William Morrow (April 2, 2013), 304 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher. ( )
  gaby317 | Apr 25, 2013 |
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A novel of psychological suspense, in which a young woman returns to the quirky Bronx riverfront neighborhood where she grew up, only to find that her mother's house has become a hoarder's nest. As Evie digs into the events of the past few months, a bigger, more sinister story begins to unfold.… (more)

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