Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Virgin of Small Plains” as Want to Read:
The Virgin of Small Plains
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Virgin of Small Plains (Jenny Cain #7)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  4,556 ratings  ·  734 reviews
Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987: In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger scours his father’s pasture, looking for helpless newborn calves. Then he makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl, her skin as white as the snow around her. Even dead, she is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. It is a moment that ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Virgin of Small Plains, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Virgin of Small Plains

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Joann Cotelesse
Feb 22, 2008 Joann Cotelesse rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Denise, Lisa, Shannon, Jayme etc.
Recommended to Joann by: The library
On going to the library to find another book, I picked this book up at the suggestion of the library web page. This book was a sleeper. I mean I would have never thought it would be good. It was easy to read. It caught you in the first chapter. This is a story of a small town with grownups who were devious. I young boys life was altered severely because of their sins. Nancy Pickard is an author I would read again. I read mysteries often, but I did not figure it out until the plot was laid out. I ...more

Jenna  Hay
Eh, it was okay. I guess I could never forgive the book for it's first 30 pages. Ugh, awful. Teenage sexual angst is weird to begin with but when it's poorly written it's just downright uncomfortable. I felt like my mom wrote it, not quite remembering those teen feelings.

Then, Blammo! Page 30! Things get exciting!

So, I read and read and read but...the excitement drops off. Sigh. I put the book down for a week. Pick it up again, things get exciting! Then...well, repeat. With 5 pages left, I was
Again, another Book Club read. This my first time reading Pickard, I have met her and she is a sweetie. I really wanted to like this book. I was able to relate to the description of the Kansas plains and the small town feel. I was so looking forward to reading a book set in Kansas, but...the story. Oh my. It had more romance than I expected and less character development than I needed. A very tidy ending, all's well and perfect in the end. Don't get me wrong, I like a good ending as much as the ...more
ஐ Canan ஐ `·.¸¸.·´´¯`··._
Gerilim türündeki kitapların pekde tarzım olduğu söylenemez.Ama bu kitabı elimden bırakamadım.
Öncelikle konusunu,kurgusunu,kapağını, anlatımını, olayın akışını sevdim.
Yer yer eskiye bir dönüş olması ilk başlarda biraz kafamı karıştırdı ama ilerleyen bölümlerde
hem bu duruma alıştım hemde konuyu özümsedim.

Konuya değinecek olursam; Rex, Mitch ve Abby Small Plains kasabasında kendi hallerinde üç
yakın arkadaştırlar.Bir gün, kasabada bir cinayete kurban gidildiği düşünülen ve tanınmayacak halde bulun
What a page turner! This book reads just like an episode of CBS' Cold Case, which I happen to love! In 1987 the body of a young woman is found naked and half buried in the snow on a farm. No one in town knows her and everyone pitches in and buys her a tombstone and the whole town gives her a proper funeral. In 2004, her grave has become legend and people from all across the country are traveling to see the woman's grave, now known as The Virgin. The Virgin is said to cure people from life-threat ...more
Stacy Green
What a great book. Not too many authors can pull off several points of view the way Pickard does, and I found myself invested not only in solving the mystery, but in each of the characters, including the secondary ones. She also does a really good job with description by going beyond the five senses and tying it to the character's personal experience. Highly recommended!
Laurel Bradley
You know it's a good book when, after reading the library's copy, you go out and buy your own. THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLIAINS is that kind of book.

In 1987 Small Plains, Kansas, in the midst of a blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger searches the pastures of his family farm for newborn calves and finds the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl. That night, Shellenberger's dad--the sheriff--brings the corpse to sixteen-year-old Abby Reynold's father's in-home doctor's office. Hiding in a stora
This is one of those fucking books in that new-ish fucking style what attempts to, I don't fucking know, take a goddamn murder mystery and make it EXCITING and FAST-PACED by totally screwing with the narrative linechanging p-o-v rapidly and skipping back-and-forth in time. And pretending to give you clues about whodunit that turn out to be not clues at all, haha, and weren't you a fool for thinking the psychopathic son did it?
That's got nothing to do with being a foolish, naive reader, goddammi
Berfin Basak
Nancy Pickard'in okudugum ilk kitabi olan Bakire bir kasaba da gecen cinayeti ve cevresinde gelisen olaylari anlatiyor. Kitap cinayeti isleyen kisiden ziyade kimin neyi sakladigi merakiyla okutturdu kendini cunku herkes de bir gizem, aman susun agzimizin tadi kacmasin havasi vardi. Acikcasi son 100 sayfaya dogru sıkılmaya baslamistim ama bir yerde höh ne oluyoruz ya diyemeden olaylar cozuluverdi. Kesinlikle aklimdan bile gecmeyen kisilerle alakali cikti ve yazarimizi burada tebrik ettim. Gerci o ...more
Büşra Bal
Mitch,canımsın. Bir cinayet-gerilim romanında,gene kendime aşık olacak bir karakter buldum. Again and again. Polisiye olarak en son Eve dallas'ın son kitabını okumuştum sanırım. Bu kitap çok iyi geldi. Soluk aldığımı hissediyorum yani. Ama allasen o kapağı bir değiştirin ne olur, olmamış bir yerlerden bir dram fışkıracak gibi. Sevdim kitabı.Ben bu tarz polisiyeyi daha çok seviyorum, inatla katili gizlemeye çalışan yazar,her daim belli ediyor katilini. Ama bak kadına, gizlemiyor, nedeni sorgulatı ...more
I enjoyed reading it, kept going back to it between chores and errands, I wanted to see what would happen next.
It was relaxing in that it was easy to read, uncomplicated but kept my interest. There was also, in my opinion, a pleasing symmetry and balance to the book. It wasn't a cozy, there is some gore, and it isn't necessarily logical.
A young teen in love witnesses a horrible event. He tells his father and is quickly sent away. His girlfriend and other friends cannot understand why he is gone
Stunning first novel for me by this author! 5 Stars! Worthy as a bookclub selection! Can't wait to meet this author in May. The storyline, the characters, the mystery was all gold and I was riveted from the first sentence. Loved the present and the past chapters and each with a view from key characters. Brilliant prose and most poetic justice on page 330. A Must Read for everyone. Can't hardly wait for her new book to come out this June and or to dive into her two series.
Anna Serra i Vidal
Coming back from the Writer's Unboxed Unconference a few people decided to gather and analyse this book because Donald Maass praised it both at the UnCon and in his own books. We have given us some time to read and I really wanted to read it slowly to start analyzing but this can't be done. At least on a first read. The story sucks you in and you can't stop reading, you just have to keep your eyes glued to the page until it's over. And then you realize you have to come back and reread to appreci ...more
Mar 04, 2015 Erin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Erin by: Goodreads
In the middle of a blizzard, a young girl is found dead- naked and bloody by teenager Rex Shellenberger, his father, and older brother. His father, the local sheriff, drops Rex off at his home and tells his son to say nothing to his mother about the dead girl. Meanwhile, across town, teenage lovebirds, Abby and Mitchell( Rex's best friend, are hiding out in Abby's bedroom waiting for her parents to fall asleep. Abby knows that if her father, the town doctor, catches Mitch, she'll be grounded fo ...more
Lisa Louie
I don't often read mystery novels; it was the premise of Pickard's novel that drew me to it. A young woman's naked body is discovered in the snow deep in a farmer's field one winter night. Her identity unknown, she is buried in the Kansas town's cemetery and becomes known as the “Virgin of Small Plains.” Over the years, her grave is transformed into a pilgrimage site for those who are suffering and dying. Some even claim that visits to her grave cures them. Ten years later, Abby, the protagonist ...more
Jeannine Mason
All in all I enjoyed this book. The characters were pretty two-dimensional, but I wanted a good mystery, and a quick one, and usually the character development is limited in stories like these. I was ok with that. I choose books depending on my mood, and if I want an epic historical novel or a fast paced mystery will depend on how I am feeling.

I felt the pacing was perfect. The mystery of an unidentified girl found dead in a snow storm 17 years prior to the books opening set the fast pace almost
I read this book in just over a day, staying up into the night as I couldn't tear myself away from it. It's one of those books where you promise yourself that this will be the last chapter, and then you say just one more....and so on!

This is the story of a young girl who is found naked and frozen to death in one of the worst blizzards the town on Small Plains has ever known. She can't be identified and so she is buried in an unmarked grave in the towns cemetary. Over the years she becomes known
This is the second Nancy Pickard book I've read and it certainly won't be the last. Her books are page-turners and not because of the breathtaking action, but because she involves you in the character's lives. I felt so much for what some of them had been through, the pain of loss that it so real that it is heartbreaking. It brought me to tears several times.
The mystery is there from page one, but the story around it slowly develops and there are some great red herrings and some evidence seen fr
Bir insanın bu derece hastalıklı bir planı anında kurabilmesi, zavallı Mitch'in haksız yere kasabadan tecrit edilmesi, Abby'nin yıkılması ve aradan 17 yıl geçmesi ile nihayet sırların açıklanması... Olay kasabada ölü bulunan ve "nedense" kimsenin tanımadığı genç bir kızın ölümüyle başlıyor. Rex ve ailesi kızı buluyorlar ardından şerif (Rex'in babası) onu doktora (Abby'nin babası) götürüyor ve orada doktor vahşi bir şekilde yüzünü deforme ediyor-bir beysbol sopasıyla. Bunu da şans o ya o sırada d ...more
Yorumun aslı blog sitesindedir:

Kitap akıcı ve konusu öyle ilgi çekici ki sürekli bir "ne oluyor, bunun sırrı ne?" sorusuyla kitabın sonunu getirmeye çalışıyor insan. Bu bağlamda okurken gerçekten keyif alarak okuduğum bir kitap oldu Bakire.

Kitap bizi sizin de ön okumadan bildiğiniz gibi karlı bir kış günü baş bayan karakterimiz Abby'nin eski sevgilisinin annesi ve hayatını zindan eden uyuz Nadine'i görmesi ve bir anlık yaptığı kaza ile karşılıyor. Bu kaz
Donna Galanti
This is a powerhouse of a book. It held me in a grip. Pickard is a master at dropping just the right tid bits along the way for you to sit up and ask: "OMG, what did that character just say?" "OMG, how is he connected too?" "OMG, I cant believe that just happened!" and you rush back to read it again to keep that shocking feeling going. Once you get caught up in the parallel story lines, one present day and one 17 years earlier, it will seem as seamlessly insync as one story. You won't have to wa ...more
Cathy Cole
The Virgin of Small Plains is the age-old story of the loss of innocence, the loss of trust, the loss of faith. Young Rex Shellenberger found the dead girl, and his friend Mitch Newquist disappeared the very next day-- stirring rumors that Mitch was the killer. Rex never believed those rumors, and neither did his friend (and Mitch's girlfriend) Abby Reynolds. None of the three friends ever recovered from that event, and as Nancy Pickard's tale unfolds, it soon becomes abundantly clear that their ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read this for my November book club read, when I went to go buy the book from Barnes and Noble it didn't really occur to me that this was pegged as a mystery. I wasn't familiar with Nancy Pickard and thought the book was really well done.While I read the book it reminded me of a Karen White book, one thing I liked about it was I felt like I could clearly "see" everything that was happening. Only a really good story-teller could do something like that to their audience. I was pretty surprised a ...more
Burak Uluışık
Yine bir aylaaaardır okumadığım kitap vakası. Bana arasıra böyle geliyor hiç kitap okumuyorum okuyamıyorum adeta kal geliyor. Bu kitapta o dönemde başladığım kitaplardan biriydi. Biraz okuyup köşeye atmıştım taa ki bugüne kadar. Öylece yatarken okunacak kitaplarım tam göz hizamda kule şeklinde duruyorlar işte gözüme ilişti neden olmasın dedim aldım tekrar başladım ve 1 günde bitti!! Kitap kötü değil ama çok iyi de değil. Orta karar bir kitaptı. Çok fazla aksiyon yok ama ortada bir sır var ve o s ...more
I bought this in a library sale years ago. It has sat on a bookcase ignored the whole time and I have been trying to read all my meh books to then pass on to the charity shop...
Well, how wrong was I? I loved it from the first paragraph and it's not going anywhere now. Could not wait to finish work and get home to read it. Fantastic plot, would make a perfect movie, someone should buy the rights, I LOVED IT.
Google Books recommended this to me because I just finished Gillian Flynn's novel, and they both are about characters revisiting a cold-case murder that happened in Kansas in the 80s. The books had similar themes, but in my opinion, Pickard's book demonstrates exactly what makes Flynn such a superior writer.

Virgin of Small Plains was a great murder mystery, it kept me thinking and intrigued until the end. But the writing was kind of boring and the characters were completely flat. I'm spoiled by
Connie N.
I really had no idea what to expect with this book, having never read this author before, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The story moved along quickly, with action, small-town relationships, and a mystery that wasn't completely revealed until the very end. I really liked Abby, Mitch, and Rex, the main players, who were all townies who had grown up together. They were all on the fringes of a murder, but none of them really had all the facts and didn't seek answers until 17 years had passed. ...more
Book #18 for 2010. Having grown up in the rural KC area and been 16 in early 1987, I felt like I was being transported back in time while reading this book! The timeline transitions really were handled beautifully, as were the shifts in perspective. It really gave me a lot to wonder about, thinking back on how I perceived my world in 1987 and what I might discover if I decided to explore them in today's world.

For the most part, this is a cold case mystery, but Pickard has imbued it with a hint
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Cafe Libri: January: The Virgin of Small Plains, by Nancy Pickard 2 12 Dec 19, 2012 06:27PM  
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • The Body in the Snowdrift (Faith Fairchild, #15)
  • Bent Road
  • California Girl
  • The Ballad of Frankie Silver (Ballad, #5)
  • Letter From Home
  • Charley's Web
  • The Victim In Victoria Station (Dorothy Martin, #5)
  • The Butterfly House
  • The Choiring of the Trees
  • The Ghost Orchid
  • Their Wildest Dreams: A Novel
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
  • The Girl in the Glass
  • Hard Row (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #13)
  • Bone Harvest (Claire Watkins, #4)
  • Sacrifice
  • Zen Attitude (Rei Shimura, #2)
(from Wikipedia)

Nancy Pickard (born 1945) is a US crime novelist. She has won five Macavity Awards, four Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, and a Shamus Award. She is the only author to win all four awards. She also served on the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America. She received a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri and began writing at age 35.
More about Nancy Pickard...

Other Books in the Series

Jenny Cain (10 books)
  • Generous Death (Jenny Cain, #1)
  • Say No to Murder (Jenny Cain, #2)
  • No Body (Jenny Cain, #3)
  • Marriage Is Murder (Jenny Cain, #4)
  • Dead Crazy (Jenny Cain, #5)
  • Bum Steer (Jenny Cain, #6)
  • But I Wouldn't Want to Die There (Jenny Cain, #8)
  • Confession (Jenny Cain, #9)
  • Twilight (Jenny Cain, #10)
The Scent of Rain and Lightning But I Wouldn't Want to Die There (Jenny Cain, #8) The Whole Truth (Marie Lightfoot, #1) The 27-Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders (Eugenia Potter, #4) Generous Death (Jenny Cain, #1)

Share This Book

“İnsanların iyi niyetleri suistimal ediliyor.”
“Kim tarafından?”
“Biz tabii ki!Hasta insanların buraya gelip o aptalca hikayelere inanmalarına izin veriyoruz ve işleri onlar için daha kötü hale getiriyoruz.”
“İnsanların okudukları şeylere inanmalrınıengelleyen bir yasa henüz yok ,Abby.”
“Fakat dolandırmayı engelleyen var.”
“Good ol' Rex, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” 1 likes
More quotes…