HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read
Loading...

A Field of Darkness (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Cornelia Read

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4011826,637 (3.6)41
Member:cetera_desunt
Title:A Field of Darkness
Authors:Cornelia Read
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2007), Upplaga: Reprint, Paperback, 320 sidor
Collections:Your library, Allt annat
Rating:****
Tags:mystery, cold case, syracuse, new york, fairy tales

Work details

A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read (2006)

Recently added byCathrynGrant, GlobeMinneapolis, chrirob, lygabe, sarams, private library, lfavreau, susanbevans
None
  1. 20
    Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (RidgewayGirl)
  2. 10
    In the Woods by Tana French (jlparent)
    jlparent: Crime fiction
  3. 10
    Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (jlparent)
    jlparent: Twists and turns and family secrets, oh my.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 41 mentions

English (17)  Tagalog (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Excellent first mystery that turns on issues of class differences. ( )
  CandaceVan | Apr 16, 2013 |
The first wonderful thing about this book is the writing which is truly unique. Read's writing is both witty and acerbic, both poignant and insightful. Madeline Dare finds herself exiled to Syracuse [Sore Excuse] as a result of marriage to her husband, Dean. Madeline describes her family’s wealthy background: “my money’s so old, there’s none left”. She has an exquisite irony about her background: “I grabbed the tabouleh I’d made the night before out of the icebox. Well, okay, “fridge” or whatever. I come from that tribe of verbal conservatives who still say “Victrola” and “toe-mah-toe”—Old High Long Island, my first language.” It’s tough being impoverished amidst a sea of extremely wealthy relatives—Madeline is treated so badly by these relatives that even the servants feel sorry for her, as evidenced by one cook’s habit of slipping Madeline a $20 whenever she can. Madeline’s mother depends on the largesse of her boyfriend, Bonwit, who shares her passion for buying dented cans of food because of the reduced price. On the other hand, Madeline has a good sense of humor about it. Upon her great-grandmother’s death, Madeline inherits her enormous shoe collection because she is the only girl in the family with the same size feet. As she’s packing up the shoe collection, her aunt asks her what she is going to do with the shoes: “I thought I’d wear them to exotic places they’ve never been before. You know, like work.” Her relatives can be unbearably shallow and simultaneously deeply cruel as in this aside from an aunt during the great grandmother’s funeral at a wonderful family camp in the Adirondacks, a place that is very dear to Madeline: “You realize, of course, that when your parents sold their shares in Camp, they were told it meant their children would never be allowed to buy back in?”

The story takes place in 1988. The scenes of Madeline’s interactions with her in-laws are priceless. As someone who grew up in upstate New York, her descriptions of life in Syracuse and the locals are absolutely dead-on. Her in-laws are farmers who consider “working for wages” to be a cop-out from real life. She describes the industrial wasteland of contemporary Syracuse compared to the thriving metropolis of the 19th century: “There were still traces of those glory days if you knew where to look, things like our radiator covers, made of the steel sheets from which Remington and Smith-Corona letter-key stems had been punched, leaving behind a delicate herringbone tracery. The ghosts of history are in the details, in the negative space.” Her description of her local grocery store which she has dubbed “The Outpatient Grocery Store”: “The owners knew most people in the neighborhood couldn’t afford a car to get to the nicer, cheaper stores out in the burbs: the solidly clean P&Cs and Big Ms, the Wegmans in DeWitt with the big “international” cheese section. So, just because they could, these guys stocked The Outpatient with nothing but nasty old crap at lunar-colony trade-embargo prices.”

The mystery concerns the twenty-year old deaths of two young women who were found with their throats cut in a local cornfield. Madeline becomes involved when her father-in-law hands her a set of dog tags that he dug up a few years ago in that same corn field. The dog tags appear to have belonged to her cousin, Lapthorne. Despite being relegated to the foods/events section of her local weekly paper where she works, almost against her will Madeline takes on the murder case as an investigative piece. Despite her sometimes bumbling efforts, Madeline slowly zeroes in on the killer and the ending is pretty harrowing. ( )
  joannalongbourne | Feb 27, 2011 |
Madeline is thrust into a cold-case investigation when dog tags left at the scene of a grisly murder years before have a family member's name on them. Overall I liked it; plenty of twists, smooth pacing, cultural references, and engaging characters. I had to warm to the author's descriptive style - at first it seemed over-done, like she was cramming stuff in but within a few pages that feeling vanished. It isn't as good as say, Gillian Flynn or Tana French, but it is still an engaging read. ( )
  jlparent | Dec 23, 2010 |
It is 1988, and cocaine, big hair, and Madonna are all the rage. Madeline Dare, a recovering debutante and cub journalist, lives in Syracuse, New York with her husband Dean. College-educated and a brilliant inventor, Dean is still a farmboy, a townie, and thus pretty much the direct opposite of Madeline, whose admittedly disjointed world growing up consisted in large part of coming out parties, summers at the extended family's "camp" in the Adirondacks, and boarding school. Madeline (sometimes Bunny, which is her Oyster Bay Long Island uber-WASP nickname) loathes everything about Syracuse except Dean and longs to get away. She works as a lifestyles reporter at the Syracuse Weekly, the local free rag, reporting in depth on such important topics as "Hot Drinks for Winter" and "Best Midway Food Eats."

When Madeline learns about the gruesome 1969 murders of two beautiful, young, and never identified girls, she is horrified and intrigued. When her father-in-law--in the spirit of "I know something nobody else knows" tosses a set of dog-tags he plowed up in the field where the girls were found across the table at her, Madeline is terrified; the dog-tags belong to her beloved older cousin Lapthorne. What can a girl journalist do but commence an investigation? This Madeline does, an investigation she doggedly pursues even as people she knows begin to fall by the wayside, and even as it takes her to places--physical, psychological, personal--she'd really rather not venture.

Cornelia Read calls her crime fiction "WASP Noir," and has an intimate knowledge of the culture about which she writes; she, herself, as the biography on her official website tells us, was "born into the tenth (and last) generation of her mother's family to live on Oyster Bay's Centre Island." The voice Read has created for Madeline's first person narrative is original and fresh. Maddie is smart and cynical, acutely self-aware and frequently self-deprecating. Her points of reference--cultural and pop-cultural, from Puccini to Joni Mitchell to the Brothers Grimm--are wide, deep, and extraordinarily clever (but without any did-you-catch-that-one authorial winks). I knew from the first page that I would like A Field of Darkness, but it was round about page 75 or so, when Maddie's mom "perkily misquotes Arlo Guthrie for the thousandth time," that I knew I would love it.

A Field of Darkness is a brilliant first novel, an original take on a genre which is all too frequently tired and hackneyed. ( )
1 vote BeckyJG | Oct 14, 2010 |
Madeline Dare is a contradiction. Born into a family that once had wealth and power and still acts like they do, she's no stranger to traditional WASP culture. But relative poverty has given her a different perspective as well. Marriage to a well-grounded husband helps keep Madeline on the straight and narrow but Dean is often away for long stretches of work, leaving Madeline to her own devices. In this first novel of the series, she investigates an old murder because her cousin may have been involved. Intriguing plot but an interesting main character who may not appeal to all readers. ( )
  bookappeal | Aug 16, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Every page is a pleasure in this mystery debut featuring barb-wielding, ex-debutante Madeline Dare. A newspaper reporter trapped among the white trash (or "garbage blanc") of Syracuse, New York, she becomes enmeshed in the 20-year-old unsolved murder of two young hippies. The case was dubbed "the Rose Girls," for the thorny crowns encircling the victims' heads. Madeline's preposterously preppy cousin, Lapthorne Townsend, is among the suspects; his army dog tags were found at the scene of the crime.... Bent on exonerating him, she sets out to retrace the Rose Girls' final hours, reportedly spent in the company of two soldiers at the New York State Fair. Read's plot crackles and pops, but her characters steal the show.
added by terran | editBooklist, Allison Block (Mar 15, 2006)
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Grace and Lila, who are both sweetness and light.
First words
There are people who can be happy anywhere.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446699497, Paperback)

Madeline Dare would be the first to tell you her money is so old there's none left. A former socialite from an aristocratic family in decline, Maddie is a tough-talking, would-be journalist exiled to the rust belt of upstate New York. Her prospects for changing her dreary lifestyle seem dim--until a set of dog tags found at a decades-old murder site is linked to her family. Shocked into action, Maddie embarks on a search that takes her from the derelict smokestacks of Syracuse to the posh mansions of Long Island's Gold Coast. But instead of the warm refuge of home, this prodigal daughter soon uncovers dark, sinister secrets that will violently challenge everything she believes in and holds dear.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:57 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Madeline Dare would be the first to tell you her money is so old there's none left. A former socialite from an aristocratic family in decline, Maddie is a tough-talking, would-be journalist exiled to the rust belt of upstate New York. Her prospects for changing her dreary lifestyle seem dim -- until a set of dog tags found at a decades-old murder site is linked to her family. Shocked into action, Maddie embarks on a search that takes her from the derelict smokestacks of Syracuse to the posh mansions of Long Island's Gold Coast. But instead of the warm refuge of home, this prodigal daughter soon uncovers dark, sinister secrets that will violently challenge everything she believes in and holds dear." -- back cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
8 avail.
30 wanted
3 pay5 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.6)
0.5 1
1 1
1.5
2 6
2.5 7
3 27
3.5 13
4 35
4.5 6
5 15

Audible.com

Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,031,849 books! | Top bar: Always visible