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The Rosewood Casket by Sharyn McCrumb

The Rosewood Casket (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Sharyn McCrumb

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8191216,720 (3.86)25
Title:The Rosewood Casket
Authors:Sharyn McCrumb
Info:Signet (1997), Edition: FIRST EDITIION FIRST PRINTING, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Rosewood Casket by Sharyn McCrumb (1996)

  1. 00
    Ghosts of The Soon Departed by T. A. Epley (ancestorsearch)
    ancestorsearch: Great book that takes place in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina that spans over four generations of family

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The 4th "Ballad novel" by Sharyn McCrumb. The Stargill family has gathered at their ancestral homestead in the Tennessee hills to await the death of their father, who has taken to his bed and lapsed into a coma, leaving a page of instructions for his burial. His sons are to build him a coffin by hand from a stash of rosewood he's had aging in the barn for many years. These men include a car salesman from Cincinnati, a career military man, a "hippie" environmentalist who has stayed in the area, and a country music star. None of them have had a decent relationship with their father or with each other, and all of them resent the interruption in their lives. Among the things they disagree about is what should become of the land when their father dies. A local real estate developer wants it, and he also wants the adjoining Stallard farm which is under foreclosure, but still occupied by old J. Z. Stallard and his daughter Dovey, an angry woman who has a history with all of the Stargill boys. The novel explores family dynamics, generational issues and changing socio-economic conditions in the Appalachians in the late 20th century. There's an old mystery, a lot of local history, some nostalgia, and the backstory of the marvelous Nora Bonesteel as well. AND we learn the truth about Daniel Boone's coonskin cap. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Jun 19, 2018 |
This one was much better than the other one I read by this author. Not really my cup of tea though. It wasn't really a mystery per se, though there was one element that wasn't resolved until the end. More of a character-driven novel than a mystery. Characters good, plot generally good ... just not what I normally go for. ( )
  AliceAnna | Aug 17, 2014 |
Tried several times to read this book and I was never able to get interested. ( )
  wareagle78 | Feb 2, 2014 |
I generally like McCrumb’s tales of small town crime and relationships in the Tennessee mountains, but this one – the third one I’ve read – is more slow-going and less interesting than the first two. It concerns the four sons who come home to attend the death of their father and make him a coffin, the girl next door who can’t give up her family’s land, and the buried bodies (literally and figuratively) in both their families’ pasts. The suspenseful chase and climax feels a little contrived. But I do like her poetic language and the way she weaves the past with the present, so The Rosewood Casket is still a very pleasant read. ( )
  sturlington | Feb 25, 2012 |
Another of the ballad novels, Nora Bonesteel brings a small box of bones to be buried with Randall Stargill. Using Indian legends and the stories about Daniel Boone, McCrumb presents a mystery novel with family secrets and tragedies. ( )
  ptaylor12 | Sep 12, 2009 |
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I believe the future is simply the past, entered through another gate. -PINERO
For my fellow Appalachian writers
Gary Barker, David Hunter, and Clyde Kessler -
sons of the pioneers
First words
On the mountain a child was crying.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
All chapter -opening epigraphs are from Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer by John Mack Faragher, published by Henry Holt & Co.


Small Farms Disappearing In Tennessee by Jim Wayne Miller, from Brier, His book, published by Gnomon Press, used by Permission.
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From the back:

Randall Stargill lies dying on his Appalaciah farm and his four sons hav come home to build him a coffin from his precious cache of rosewood. Like a hovering vulture, a local real estate developer is readying an offer for the farm. And mountain wise-woman Nora Bonesteel, Randall's sweetheart of long ago, brings to light a small box to be buried with Randall - a box containing human bones.

Thus the stage is set for a tale of family strife, dark secrets, and eerie legends among mountain people torn between tradition and change. This hauntingly beautiful novel evokes the spiritually charged mountains where the night wind still sounds its eternal song.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451184718, Mass Market Paperback)

It would have been almost impossible for McCrumb to top her last book, She Walks These Hills, one of the best mysteries of the last decade. But this story of a Southern family haunted by deeds done and undone comes very close: It's full of beautifully-observed details of everyday life which anchor the mystical moments and keep us rooted in reality. This one -- and other McCrumb classics like The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter -- are perfect gifts for readers who haven't yet found a way into the mystery genre.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:08 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

As a southern Appalachian farmer lies dying, with his four sons returning home to build him a casket, his sweetheart of long ago presents a mysterious box to be buried with him.

(summary from another edition)

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