The Virgin of Small Plains
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The Virgin of Small Plains

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  4,076 ratings  ·  693 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 January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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...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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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
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...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...more
The Virgin of Small Plains had the potential to be a great story, but did anyone else find it rather predictable? While it could have been a great story, I felt that it only fell into the "good" category since you could see (in my opinion anyway) who the guilty party was long before the end. Not that that is a problem if the author has other tricks up their sleeve to keep the reader entertained. But something about this just fell flat. I got the impression that the author was trying to keep me o...more
Gerilim -Polisiye türünde yazılmış sürükleyici ve kurgusu güçlü bir hikaye .. Tereddüt ederek başlamıştım ama sevdim ...
Nisanur Uludağ
yok böyle bişey mükemmeldin bebeğimmm!! ancak bu kadar güzel kurgulanır bir kitap 5 üzerinden 10 vermek istiyorum !
I happened to spot this book on the display shelf at the local town library on which the librarians put books that they have selected as I do miss that they feel the townspeople ought to read, to be loaned out for one week only, and the few review quotes on the back cover convinced me that it was some kind of social book since they said that the book begins quotes rest magic from the everyday and redemption from broken dreams.” It turns out, however, that it is simply an unusual mystery, beginni...more
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.
Doug Beatty
Mar 29, 2007 Doug Beatty rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Suspense lovers
Shelves: mystery
Virgin of Small Plains was awesome. Ending totally unexpected. Great character development. Set in a small town in Kansas. Young woman found dead during a snowstorm. Never solved. She is buried and becomes a folk legend, those that touch her grave are healed. In the present day, many years later, a woman named Abby wants to give the woman a name and find out who killed her. Uncovers secrets.
This is the reality TV of mystery books. Like the Kardashians, it sucked me in with simple characters in contrived situations that I somehow couldn't tear myself away from, and each shallow (and mostly predictable) twist gave me an eye-rolling greed for more. And just like with my rarely-admitted-to Kardashians habit, I'm embarrassed I binged the whole thing in a day but would still love to talk about it with someone else willing to admit they did the same thing.

Unlike the Kardashians, a lot of...more
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Cafe Libri: January: The Virgin of Small Plains, by Nancy Pickard 2 9 Dec 19, 2012 06:27PM  
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • The Body in the Snowdrift (Faith Fairchild, #15)
  • Letter From Home
  • The Ballad of Frankie Silver (Ballad, #5)
  • Tethered
  • The Devil in Music (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #4)
  • Fragile (The Hollows, #1)
  • Mark of the Lion (Jade del Cameron Mysteries, #1)
  • Forty Words for Sorrow
  • The Butterfly House
  • Purgatory Ridge (Cork O'Connor, #3)
  • The Dirty Secrets Club (Jo Beckett #1)
  • Blue Heaven
  • Sacrifice
  • Charley's Web
  • Bent Road
  • Not a Creature was Stirring (Gregor Demarkian, #1)
  • Perfect Family
(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
More about Nancy Pickard...
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)

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“Good ol' Rex, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” 2 likes
“He'd been inside of a storm, all right. He'd been swept up in a tornado of sex and memory, naked regret and short-lived ecstasy. Now he felt tossed out of it onto the hard, prickly ground. He felt bruised and used.” 2 likes
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