Monday, November 28, 2011

The Case of the Missing Babysitter

In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault.*

A review by Marlyn Beebe.

When best friends Nora and Charotte were eleven, they shared a sixteen-year-old babysitter by the name of Rose. The small, idyllic town of Waverly, Connecticut was considered fairly safe even in 1990, and Rose often walked home alone at dusk. One day, she walked Nora to her house, then continued to her own home. She never arrived, though, and most people assumed that Rose had run away.

Nora never believed that, however. She always knew, somehow, that Rose was dead. Her feeling was proven true sixteen years later when she receives a call from Charlotte telling her that Rose has been found.

Nora, who had left Waverly as soon as she possibly could, at first believes that Rose is still alive. That thought is quickly quashed by Charlotte, who explains that Rose's remains had been found near the local pound, stuffed into a wicker trunk. Although Nora has always been certain that Rose was dead, she is shocked by this, and feels the need to go back to Waverly.

Telling her husband only that she's visiting her old friend Charlotte, Nora drives from her home in D.C. to Waverly, where Charlotte still lives in the house she grew up in. Once she gets there, she finds that for some unknown rason she really needs to know what happened to Rose, and starts asking questions of everyone she can find who used to know her.

As the reader might anticipate, there was much more to Rose's life than eleven-year-old Nora could possibly imagine. Although the adult Nora expects this, the reality completely stuns her.

The characters are believable, though not all likeable, and the story keeps the reader eager to learn what happened to Rose. Although this reviewer found the eventual revelation something of a disappointment, many will probably think it perfectly satisfactory. In any case, the prose is a delight to read and the relationships between the younger characters ring true, as do their perceptions of adult behavior.

*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me a copy of the book for review purposes.


  1. I love mysteries about people who disappeared long ago. So many people in real life are never found that it's gratifying in fiction to find out what could have happened.

  2. What an intriguing plot. Thanks for another honest review, Marlyn!

  3. Helpful and interesting post. I am a new follower after reading your awesome post on writing thrillers over at the writer's forensic blog. Glad to be here and I will be back to read more after NaNo ends in a few days.

  4. Thank you for reviewing this! I picked this book up a couple of months ago on a whim, and I liked it. But few people I know have read it, so couldn't really discuss it with anyone.

    Thumbs up!

  5. Thanks for the review, Marlyn--as an author, I find it refreshing to see a reviewer who can find the good in a book, even if there are some things that are not as good. Nothing is in black and white, and it seems clear you have a good understanding of that.

  6. Thanks for the review Marlyn, I hadn't heard of this book and now you've spured me on to get a copy. Like LJ, these types of stories realy grab me. I'm sure all of us wonder, from time to time, about someone from our past and where they ended up. This book sounds similar to a couple cases I have worked as well and brings back a lot of memories. Can't wait to check it out!

  7. Thank you all for reading my review, and for your kind comments.
    @crapficton: If you want to discuss further, I'm available.


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