"To categorize this book as a mystery is like calling The Grapes of Wrath a travelogue...."
— Slim Randles
"Lisa Polisar's moving story and elegant prose bring vitality and wonder to an age-old theme, turning The Ghost of Mary Prairie into a contemporary masterpiece."
— Pari Noskin Taichert, two-time Agatha Award finalist
From the Prologue
In 1961, southern Oklahoma was a landscape of hard traditions and miles of empty space. Recycled stories and wide prairies were the sustenance from which everyone drew strength and stability. Families lived in the same houses, on the same ranches and farms and on the same streets as their ancestors before them, and no whim of Darwinian evolution was going to break that chain. And woven into the very strands of this social tapestry was a culture of silence and a graveyard folklore that followed every day and every event like a grim, relentless shadow.
From Chapter One
I heard her for the first time on the fourth of July. Hottest damn day of the summer, the weathervane read ninety-eight degrees at ten in the morning. By noon the grass was too hot to walk on in bare feet. The air inside the house felt thick and heavy, and laden down with a strange silence.
No one answered my knock on the bedroom door.
Mama's pie was still baking in the oven but her round, aproned figure wasn't in front of the stove. The house was deserted. It was a Saturday afternoon and by far the scariest day of my life. Little did I know what was coming.
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