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No One You Know Hardcover – June 24, 2008

51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* As in her previous two novels, Dream of the Blue Room (2003) and the best-selling Year of Fog (2007), Richmond turns a family crisis into heartbreaking and compelling reading. Ellie Enderlin has never recovered from the unsolved murder of her sister, Lila, a Stanford math prodigy, some 20 years earlier. The day her sister went missing has become “the touchstone from which all other events unfurled.” Compounding the tragedy is the fact that her English professor, the person to whom she confided some of her most intimate feelings about her shy, private sister, has turned the tragedy into a best-selling true-crime book. To have those moments turned into fodder for the public’s voyeuristic appetite has felt like another violation. When Ellie, a world traveler and coffee buyer, meets up unexpectedly with the brilliant mathematician implicated in her sister’s murder, she sees it as a way to wrest back control of her own narrative and solve the crime. Richmond gracefully weaves in fascinating background material on the coffee culture and the field of mathematics as she thoughtfully explores family dynamics, the ripple effects of tragedy, and the importance of the stories we tell. Combine all that with perfect pacing and depth of insight, and you have a thoroughly riveting literary thriller. --Joanne Wilkinson


“Michelle Richmond’s encore to The Year of Fog is an equally addictive read.”—Denver Post

“Richmond sets out to create not a straight-up thriller, but a novel that explores love, family, work, guilt and the responsibility of the writer to his or her subject, all within the framework of a murder mystery.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Michelle Richmond never strikes a false note in No One You Know.... It's an intelligent, emotionally convincing tale about a family tragedy and the process of storytelling.”—Boston Globe

“As complex and beautiful as a mathematical proof, this gripping, thought-provoking novel will keep you thinking long after the last page has been turned.”—Family Circle

"Beautifully written"—Seattle Times


"Heartrending and immediately readable"—San Francisco Examiner

“Another enjoyable blend of mystery and domestic fiction…. Quietly captivating.”—Publishers Weekly

“Richmond has a knack for creating accessible, grippingly authentic characters….No One You Know a tautly drawn tale.”—East Bay Express

“Richmond turns a family crisis into heartbreaking and compelling reading…. Riveting.” —Booklist, starred review

“Intelligent, emotionally convincing…Michelle Richmond never strikes a false note in No One You Know.”—Boston Globe

“Richmond’s fiction is made rich by the relationships between her characters and the carefully researched nuances of their lives.”—Birmingham magazine

"Pathfinder Tales: Lord of Runes"
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1 edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385340133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385340137
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 3.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,582,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michelle Richmond is the author of four novels and two story collections. Her most recent books are GOLDEN STATE (February, 2014)--"a riveting read" (Booklist, starred review) that imagines present-day California on the brink of secession from the United States--and the story collection HUM (March 2014), winner of the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize. Her previous books are the New York Times bestseller THE YEAR OF FOG (2007), the novels NO ONE YOU KNOW (2008) and DREAM OF THE BLUE ROOM (2003), and the award-winning story collection The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress (2001). She is also the editor of two anthologies: MODERN SHORTS: 18 Stories From Fiction Attic Press (2014) and FLASH IN THE ATTIC: 33 VERY SHORT STORIES (2012).

Michelle grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and has made her home for many years in Northern California. Visit for updates, reading group guides, and social media links.

From the author:
"For me, a novel always begins with a place and a character, and unfolds from there. My first two books are rooted in the Southern landscape of my childhood. Without the place out of which they grew, those books would not exist.

My subsequent books--The Year of Fog, No One You Know, and my forthcoming novel, GOLDEN STATE--could, in my mind, only take place in the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco has been my home for a decade. It's the place that fills my days and my imagination, and it inevitably finds its way into my novels."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Margaret on June 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Toward the end of this incredibly moving literary mystery, the storyteller - and Ellie is a storyteller; narrator is far too sterile a word for what is going on here - comes to the realization that stories aren't set in stone. I don't know if that is a universal truth, provable to the irrefutable certainty demanded by the mathematician characters in No One You Know, but it is clearly true about the story told in these wonderful pages. This one is set in something far richer: fertile literary soil that is at times dark, at times funny, at times heartbreaking, and, at every step, lyrical.

I've been a been reader of literary fiction for more years than I care to admit, and a reader of mysteries for even longer than that, and still no novel comes to mind that, for me, combines the best of both these worlds so elegantly.

In this novel of stories told and received, retold and unwound, Ellie's search for the truth about the unsolved murder of Lila, her brilliant mathematician sister, is a lovely study of passion, family, loss, and love. It left me thinking about so many things: How we love and why we fear loving. How we define ourselves and those around us, or leave those tasks to others. How important passion is to the work we choose to do. How often untruths told with confidence are received as truths, and how difficult it is to peel back the edges to get a peek behind widely accepted untruths. How much damage we sometimes do to others when we are over-focused on ourselves.

No One You Know is a book I will be putting in the hands of every intelligent reader I know!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DJLA531 VINE VOICE on August 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over at the Barnes & Noble First Look Book Club discussion of Stewart O'Nan's Songs for the Missing, quite a few people, including me, said they would have liked to have seen the book written from the first person perspective of the younger daughter Lindsay. I had that in mind when I read No One You Know because both books deal with a family coming to terms with the loss of an elder daughter. In the case of No One You Know, the elder daughter is Lila, a math genius, and the story is told by her sister Ellie 20 years after the tragic event.

"A story has no beginning or end. Arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead," Author Richmond writes. Ellie's life has been shaped by her sister's unsolved murder, and the "true crime" account of it written by a professor, Andrew Thorpe, she once intimately trusted. That book revealed Lila's math professor and secret married lover as the perp. But Ellie begins to question everything she thought was true when a chance meeting in an unlikely place yields Lila's notebook that she used to jot down mathematical equations, leading her on a search to discover what really happened that fateful night.

I read an ARC of this novel which describes the book like this: "A riveting family drama about the stories we tell - a novel of astonishing depth and beauty, at once heartbreaking, provocative, and impossible to put down." Jacket copy often exaggerates, but in this case I wholeheartedly agree with it. I will go out and buy a copy of this for my "keeper" bookshelf and I fully expect that this will appear on my year-end best list. Let me tell you why.

The narrative is very much about how little twists of fate can alter our life stories.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Hannah on July 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
No One You Know is a mystery and family drama with several layers. The primary story focuses on the narrator, Ellie, and how the murder of her genious sister Lila twenty years ago, has shaped her life and relationships. Intertwined with the story of the murder, is Ellie's current relationships with family, friends, work, etc. A significant part of Ellie's story is her past and present relationship with Andrew Thorpe, a teacher and "friend" who published a book about Ellie's sister's murder, which launched a career in true crime fiction. The chapters weave the past and present together as Ellie learns more about her sister Lila and the circumstances surrounding her mysterious death. This was the first book I read by Michelle Richmond, and I can't wait to read her previous novel, The Year of the Fog. Richmond's descriptive narratives of both the physical surrondings and her charachter's emotional states are worth a few re-reads. I found myself re-reading chapters at a time, just to be sure I had the whole picture and didn't miss a thing. Richmond's story and vivid descriptions of anything from coffee to math, to the mysterious and haunting death of a loved one, will not soon be forgotten!!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Koch VINE VOICE on August 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Twenty years ago Lila, Ellie Enderlin's sister disappeared, only to turn up a few days later died. Who would want to hurt Lila? Lila was a top math student at Stanford. Ellie obtains in her possession a notebook belonging to her sister that is filled with tons of mathematcial equations. Ellie is now on the hunt to solve the puzzle and Lila's murderer.

Along the way Ellie meets a man by the name of Andrew Thorpe. He is curious about Lila's unsolved murder and asks Ellie questions. The next thing Ellie knows, Andrew is writing a book about Lila titled "Murder by the Bay".

This is my first book by Michelle Richmond. I thought it was a good one. The only thing I had with it was at first it confused me a little when Ellie would flash back to the past and than the present, otherwise I liked how the story line came together. I thought I had the killer figured out but I was wrong. You won't belive who the murderer is and what his relationship is to Lila.
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