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Gretchen "G.G." Gilman has returned to the Oklahoma town she left in 1944. Walking through the cemetery, she mulls over a letter that's summoned her home. In 1944, Gretchen worked at the local newspaper, which had an editor, an aging society reporter and an alcoholic has-been writer. Recommended by her English teacher, the 15-year-old had no problem landing a job.

In that eventful summer, the murder of Faye Tatum was a scandal. Faye's husband was in the military, and she went out dancing every night, leaving her 16-year-old daughter, a friend of Gretchen's, alone. Home on leave, her husband heard rumors of other men. Then Faye's body was discovered and her husband disappeared. Gretchen wrote a piece that's kind to Faye and became an outcast among those who believed the rumors.

Hart departs from her amateur-sleuth series with a poignant story of a woman seeking to close an unfinished chapter of her life. Those raised in more innocent times will relate, and for younger readers—welcome to no TV, no air conditioning and walking everywhere! Times change but good writing prevails. Gretchen's story is timeless. (Oct. '03, 262 pp., $22.95)

Reviewed by: 
Lorraine Gelly