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Fadeaway Girl: A Novel (Emma Graham Series Book 4) by [Grimes, Martha]
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Fadeaway Girl: A Novel (Emma Graham Series Book 4) Kindle Edition

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Length: 337 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A 20-year-old kidnapping with faint echoes of the Lindbergh case drives Grimes's convoluted fourth crime novel featuring Emma Graham, a direct sequel to 2005's Belle Ruin. Emma, a 12-year-old cub reporter who also helps out at the Hotel Paradise in La Porte, Md., where her mother's the cook, thinks that the accounts don't add up about the unsolved disappearance of Baby Fay Slade from the nearby Belle Rouen hotel. Emma's doubts center on the possible role of Fay's father, the shady Morris Slade; Morris's spoiled wife; his rich father-in-law; and his former neighbors. The abrupt reappearance of Morris Slade and the arrival of a smug new hotel employee raise further questions and end in sudden death. Grimes's strength is in her appealing characters, from the inquisitive Emma and her dipsomaniac great-aunt, Aurora, to the pretentious 16-year-old Ree-Jane Davidow and philosophical auto mechanic Dwayne, but gaps in logic, lack of red herrings, and frequent references to earlier entries in the series may put off some readers, especially those unfamiliar with the previous books. 4-city author tour. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Emma Graham, last seen in the disappointing Belle Ruin (2005), returns to better form in this latest episode in Grimes’ series starring the precocious 12-year-old sleuth. Emma, a cub reporter for the Conservative, is nearly finished telling the serialized story of her harrowing experience in “The Tragedy at Spirit Lake.” She’s distracted, though, by questions surrounding the disappearance of Baby Fay 20 years prior. The sudden arrival of two people—the baby’s father and drifter Ralph Diggs—piques her curiosity. Diggs wins the hearts of everyone in town, except Emma, who manages to put herself in considerable danger as she searaches for the truth about Baby Fay. Emma is not without her charms (especially when she’s hiding empty rum bottles on her great aunt’s behalf or outwitting a dim-witted sheriff’s deputy), but to enjoy her adventures, readers must suspend considerable disbelief to accept the idea of a 12-year-old who displays far more savvy than most adults. That hurdle crossed, however, this is an agreeable thriller from a seasoned hand. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Grimes’ Richard Jury novels sell better than this series, but there will be more than enough spillover to generate requests in public libraries. --Mary Frances Wilkens

Product Details

  • File Size: 860 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: NAL (February 3, 2011)
  • Publication Date: February 3, 2011
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,923 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Bestselling mystery writer Martha Grimes --- creator of the popular Richard Jury novels, which carry the names of quaint pubs in picturesque British villages --- offers the third installment of a new mystery series featuring Emma Graham, a precocious American 12-year-old who lives in a small Southern town.

Emma's return in FADEAWAY GIRL resolves the mystery surrounding the mysterious 20-year-old disappearance of a baby that began in COLD FLAT JUNCTION. It has been just three weeks since Emma nearly lost her life to a murderess in the sequel, BELLE RUIN. Emma, whose extracurricular activities include a job as a cub reporter for the local newspaper, has been writing a serialized story of her misadventure. It all began when she started looking into the alleged kidnapping during her free time between hopping tables and prepping salads at her mother's genteel hotel and restaurant, and running rum-filled drinks to the attic apartment where her ancient Great Aunt Augusta sits, sips and holds court.

Emma's poring over old newspaper stories results in only minimal success, and futile attempts to pry information out of the local sheriff have turned her into a sleuth. Her snooping nearly cost her her young life as she probed the long-ago disappearance of the baby from a hotel that later burned to the ground and that event's possible links to two unsolved murders. Her keen interest in getting to the truth behind all the niggling loose ends that either elude or are ignored by those she thinks should care leads her into dangerous waters as she gets closer to unraveling the mystery. She asks questions of the gabby but unhelpful local cab driver on whom she must rely to travel from one tiny rustic village to another.
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Format: Hardcover
I came upon this book quite by accident at my local branch of the Public Library. The sight of the familiar image of one of Coles Phillips' "fadeaway girls" on the dust jacket was irresistible, even though I'm fairly sure that it is reversed from its original Life Magazine appearance.

The book isn't bad either--not great, but certainly not bad and definitely a couple of notches better than the latest handful of the author's Richard Jury series of whodunits.

I gather that "Fadeaway Girl" is the fourth in a series of tales about what must undoubtedly be regarded as an incident-filled summer of a twelve-year-old girl, Emma Graham, in semi-rural Maryland. Martha Grimes has become an author who shuns resolution. This book ties off a lot of plot lines that plainly originated in the three predecessor volumes, but just as plainly lays out a tangle of loose ends to be taken up in Emma's subsequent adventures.

In scanning over earlier Amazon reviews, I noticed that readers have been advised to read the books in order or warned that the amount of background information to be absorbed is a substantial barrier to enjoying this book. Having entered in medias res, so to speak, I find that I don't agree. Starting with Chapter 1, it is clear that a lot of stuff has already happened around Emma, fine, and then more stuff starts happening, equally fine as far as I was concerned.

This is a book of textures not often found in series whodunits. One such texture has to do with place. Emma's world seems to consist of a rough circle of perhaps a dozen miles in radius around her home town, which is by no means the largest of the small towns in her narrowly circumscribed universe.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Spoiler alert!!!
I am a fan of Martha Grimes. I really am. I enjoy the Emma Graham series even more than the Richard Jury books. The characters in this series are incredibly entertaining, and I have come to love them all. I was waiting for this next installment for what seemed like an eternity; pretty much since I finished the last paragraph of Belle Ruin. My great anticipation set my expectations very high.

The first part of this book seemed to recycle a lot of old news from the previous books, and, even though well-written and amusing, I found that a bit frustrating. The latter part grudgingly yielded a few new bits of the bigger puzzle and, as a result, was more satisfying to me. As new information unfolded, though, it was unclear to me how we got there. In Emma-speak, I wanted the back story.

It was a very, very long wait between Belle Ruin and Fadeway Girl, and I am beginning to have doubt that my many questions will ever have resolution. Please, Martha Grimes, I beseech you, don't let us wait too long to learn answers to:

Who is The Girl? an apparation of Rose Queen, Fern Queen, or someone else entirely?
Who is the mother of Fey/Rafe Diggs? Rose?
How did Imogene and her father learn that Morris Slade was the adopted baby's real father?
Why does Morris Slade feel a debt to Ben Queen?
Why did Rose and Fern Queen "go away" for awhile?
What horrible thing did Rose do?
Did Morris and Fern have something going on?
Is Imogene still alive and why didn't Fey/Rafe go after her and her father for their dastardly deed?
How did Fey/Rafe find out Morris was his father; how did they come to meet at Brokedown House?
Why did Morris say the Sheriff didn't "deserve" the story?
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