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As She Left It by Catriona McPherson
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As She Left It (edition 2013)

by Catriona McPherson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
787248,271 (3.66)5
When she was twelve years old, Opal Jones escaped her mother's endless drinking. Now, returning to their small Leeds cottage after her mum's death, Opal feels like she's gone back in time. Nosey Mrs. Pickess is still polishing her windows to a sparkle. Fishbo, Opal's ancient music teacher, still plays trumpet with his band. And much to Opal's delight, her favorite neighbor, Margaret Reid, still keeps an eye on things from the walk in front of her house. But a tragedy has struck Mote Street. Margaret's grandson, Craig, disappeared some ten years ago, and every day he's not found, shame and sorrow settle deeper into the neighborhood's forgotten corners. As the door she closed on her own dark past begins to open, Opal uncovers more secrets than she can bear about the people who were once her friends.--From back cover.… (more)
Member:DeltaQueen50
Title:As She Left It
Authors:Catriona McPherson
Info:MIDNIGHT INK (2013), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 360 pages
Collections:Your library, Read in 2020
Rating:****1/2
Tags:British Crime Fiction, Mystery, 2020CC, Category: Random Tag - Neighbours, May TIOLI #2: Author is From a Different Country Than Mine

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As She Left It by Catriona McPherson

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Opal escaped from her drinking Mother and went to live with her father when she was twelve, but ten years later, after her Mother died, she returned to the house on Mote Street in Leeds. She was surprised to find most of the same people still living there, and that nothing much had changed. But she was mistaken in that, some things had changed and some very important things had happened. First among them, was the disappearance of her favourite neighbour’s grandson. Opal remembered him as a baby, but at three years of age, he wandered off from his grandmother’s house and was never seen again.

In furnishing her new place, she buys a second-hand bed. Inside one of the bed knobs she finds a message. A message from a lost girl that Opal feels she must follow up on. Then there is her old music teacher and neighbour, who goes by the nickname of Fishbo. He is failing in health and says he can never go home again, Opal resolves to help him find some family to ease his last years. Opal hopes that these three quests, plus her new job at the local Tesco grocery store will keep her so busy that she doesn’t have time to dwell on her own clouded past. But as she discovers, secrets have a way of coming to the surface.

I really enjoyed As She Left It. This a different, unpredictable story that has been excellently plotted. The author delivers a compelling story that is full of unique and engaging characters and the working class setting helps to shape and give substance to the story, As She Left It was both a mystery and a compelling personal journey and I will be looking for more by this author. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | May 22, 2020 |
Labyrinthine with lots of twists.

Synopsis (from book's back cover): ( )
  KateBaxter | Aug 5, 2017 |
More reviews on my blog

This is an astonishing work of fiction.

It's so good it's almost impossible to talk about it without reverting to advertising-type nonsense. Spellbinding, disturbing, emotionall devastating. There, that's my urges in that direction dealt with.

It's the prose that really gets you. It is perfect for the book - imaginative and descriptive, using the language that the main character would have available to use. Good prose is very difficult to talk about - it can be tricky to describe exactly why it had the effect it did, because it is so perfect for the story that you barely notice the spell its weaving.

I believed utterly in the world. The grim council estates of Leeds felt familiar enough to the grim council estate I grew up in to believe it utterly. The lagnuage the characters used was spot-on, and the way McPherson wrote around the secrets and tragedies clearly showed that she knows her craft.

The plot does rely a little over-much on coincidence to help the main character along- a number of useful things just happen around her and it almost destroys the suspension of disbelief you've got going on. But that's a minor flaw in a book I found so engrossing I read it in one sitting.

another 5, people.

Provided free by Midnight Ink through NetGalley. ( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
More reviews on my blog

This is an astonishing work of fiction.

It's so good it's almost impossible to talk about it without reverting to advertising-type nonsense. Spellbinding, disturbing, emotionall devastating. There, that's my urges in that direction dealt with.

It's the prose that really gets you. It is perfect for the book - imaginative and descriptive, using the language that the main character would have available to use. Good prose is very difficult to talk about - it can be tricky to describe exactly why it had the effect it did, because it is so perfect for the story that you barely notice the spell its weaving.

I believed utterly in the world. The grim council estates of Leeds felt familiar enough to the grim council estate I grew up in to believe it utterly. The lagnuage the characters used was spot-on, and the way McPherson wrote around the secrets and tragedies clearly showed that she knows her craft.

The plot does rely a little over-much on coincidence to help the main character along- a number of useful things just happen around her and it almost destroys the suspension of disbelief you've got going on. But that's a minor flaw in a book I found so engrossing I read it in one sitting.

another 5, people.

Provided free by Midnight Ink through NetGalley. ( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
Opal has not returned to her childhood home since she was 12 years old and escaped her alcoholic mother to live with her dad and evil stepmother. Now 25, and coming off a bad relationship, she is looking to jumpstart her life. Everything seems to be going in her favor when she receives word that she’s inherited her childhood home after her mother’s death.

Read the rest on my book review blog: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/as-she-left-it-catriona-mcphe... ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
In a cottage in a wood,

A little old man by a window stood,
Saw a rabbit running by
Knocking at his door.
"Help me! Help me!" the rabbit said,
"Or the farmer will shoot me dead."
"Come little rabbit, come with me.
Happy we shall be."
—Traditional children's song
The outhouse, the outhouse,
The hold your nose and shout house.
Grab thee by the lug-hole,
Put thee down the plug-hole.
Grab thee by thy left hand,
Put thee down the muck pan.
Pull the chain, pull the chain,
Wash back up again.
The outhouse, the outhouse,
The hold your nose and shout house.
—Children's skipping song
Dedication
For Diane Nelson, with love and thanks and no apologies, because you're not superstitious.
First words
There's a line on the yard wall that shows where the outhouse used to be. (Prologue)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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