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Sick of Shadows (Elizabeth MacPherson, #1)
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Sick of Shadows (Elizabeth MacPherson #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  1,122 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
The book that started it all for Edgar Award winner Sharyn McCrumb's widely acclaimed series featuring amateur sleuth Elizabeth MacPherson.
When delicate Eileen Chandler is set to marry, her family fears the man is a fortune hunter. Thank goodness, Eileen's cousin Elizabeth MacPherson comes early for support. Unfortunately, Elizabeth also has some detecting to do, as a dead
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 14th 1989 by Ballantine Books (first published 1984)
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Sep 13, 2016 Kaethe rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, southern
A traditional sort of country-house mystery set on a Georgia estate about to host a wedding. Not as clever as her other works, but really an excellent choice for a day spent lying about sick.

Library copy
aPriL does feral sometimes
Um. Well.

I guess, in order to keep Amazon happy, as well as fans of this book, I ADORE THIS AUTHOR!

But this particular novel makes the sacrifice by the trees to print it a shame. Fortunately, I downloaded it.

I think it was a cozy mystery. I think. It was difficult to tell, though, at least for me. Tone-deaf emotional responses, unintentional comedic scenes, the lamest intentional jokes of the year in a book (and I've read 100 books this year), an uninteresting family, socially inept dialogue
Janis Hill
Jan 24, 2015 Janis Hill rated it really liked it
Although I've read other books in the Elizabeth Macpherson series, this is the first time I've actually found and read the FIRST book. I don't know how, as I'm a huge Sharyn McCrumb fan, but I'd not seen this one before.

And... it was great. Not disappointed at all. There was a good balance between all the characters and they had that usual depth and colour to McCrumb's character that makes me feel drawn to reading the book. The pace of reading was good and it didn't give away too much or too lit
Jun 03, 2016 Msjodi777 rated it liked it
I have liked nearly everything Sharyn McCrumb has written, but this one, not so much. Of course, when I looked it up on fantastic fiction, it was her first novel, so that might have something to do with it. I still love the Ballad series, and will try the second one in this series, but wasn't very impressed with this particular book. Read the kindle format, so no narrator. <><
Tammy Rockvam
May 15, 2011 Tammy Rockvam rated it it was ok
I've read other reviews that say that this series, and this episode in particular, are not as good as her others. I can't compare but must say I didn't really like this book too much. It started out entertaining, with interesting characters and some humor. But some of the characters seemed to change their personalities mid-way through, and the heroine Elizabeth just seems to be muddling through life. If she's the basis of a series, I'd expect her to be a bit more together. Maybe she's an acciden ...more
Linda Rowland
Sep 16, 2014 Linda Rowland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shop-for
I read this some time ago and recently decided to collect all the Elizabeth MacPherson books. Just about the only McCrumb that I do not have on collections shelves. I still took almost the entire book to figure out the guilty one. I do not wake up to a new world every day, but not too far from it when it comes to books. I now have the entire set of Elizabeth, so will read in order. I may have read them all but will likely enjoy them again, something said for a non-re-reader. That cannot be corre ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I liked most of this book. I loved the letters that Elizabeth sent to her brother Bill. We are so far from that being a method of communication that it was nice to see that sibling snarkiness could be written as well as spoken. The whole strange family thing was a bit over-done. You would have thought that at least one of them could have been same. Maybe the father was the closest, but even he was a little strange.
The Sheriff was an interesting character. He was able to hide just how smart he wa
Apr 01, 2016 Linda rated it liked it
This is the first book that I have ever read by Sharyn McCrumb. I've seen the Elizabeth MacPherson series around a lot and decided to try it. Well, I wasn't crazy about this book. It was just okay. I found it rather odd that the author would choose such a beyond eccentric family for the series heroine. And Elizabeth did not really solve the murder mystery at all anyway. So- Elizabeth travels to the home of her wealthy relatives for the wedding of her cousin Eileen Chandler. Eileen, who is descri ...more
Stef Rozitis
Dec 09, 2014 Stef Rozitis rated it it was ok
Shelves: female-detective
This book didn't impress me. I expected Elizabeth (who apparently there is a whole series about) to be a detective in the mystery. Instead she moons around wishing she was married so she wouldnt have to have a career, writing letters, making sandwiches and deferring to really irritating men until selfish big brother and his hot flatmate (she has a crush onb before she has even met) appear on the scene to save the day.

All the male characters are irritating as hell and quote literature incessantl
Aug 07, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was ok
the murder didn't happen until more than halfway through the book... but the characters weren't particularly developed in that time so it just felt like waiting for someone to die
Feb 17, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it
I read some of the books in this series years ago and liked them enough to send them to a friend in the Appalachian region. This book set the stage for others by introducing Elizabeth and her eccentric family. It was not set in Appalachia like the later books, but was sited in the deep South. I liked cousin Geoffrey immediately. His voice came across like "Sheldon", but less naive, or like "House", but less mean. He is the leader in wit, but Elizabeth holds her own, especially in her frequent le ...more
Jennifer  (Books That Hook)
Sick of Shadows is the first book in the Elizabeth MacPherson series.

The most recent book in this series was published in 2000, but I always like to start at the beginning.

At the beginning of May, I wrote a sample review for the first ninety-four pages.

Here are a few quotes from that review:
“Where is the mystery?”
“I have to give this a very low hook rating because, based on the book alone, I have no idea what the point of it is.”
“I’ve never read a book that takes this to get to the murder.”

Jul 20, 2013 Moonlight rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, kindle, 2013
When I read a cozy, I expect to get a good sense of place from the book. I don't care if the story takes place in 1884 or 2013. This book had me a little confused. The character's dialog sounded British even though the story takes place in a small town in Georgia.

The copy of the book I read stated it's publication date was 1989. I thought I would have a nice stroll down memory lane as I and most of my friend married around this time. I had to double check the publication date because the attitud
May 13, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
"Ellen Chandler, of the very eccentric Georgia Chandlers, is all set to be married. Unfortunately nobody much likes the groom; they fear he's out to snare her $200,000 inheritance and take advantage of Eileen's delicate mental state. With her sensible cousin Elizabeth MacPherson on hand for the festivities, Eileen hopes to have a friend in her corner for support.

"Before joyous wedding bells can chime, though, murder makes an uninvited appearance. And no one in the strange wedding party is above
Jul 08, 2008 Suzanna rated it liked it
I always enjoy the Elizabeth MacPherson series, because you can always say they are interesting, light, fun novels. Of all I've read so far this was my least favorite, but still worthwhile and scored well as far as entertainment.

There were two things I found annoying in the book. First was an editing error; one character was described as wearing "rimless" glasses, and then just a few pages later he was wearing "wire-rimmed glasses". That got under my skin - I think because I felt like I had a c
Eileen Chandler, of the very eccentric Georgia Chandlers, is all set to be married. Unfortunately, nobody much likes the groom; they fear he's out to snare her $200,000 inheritance and take advantage of Eileen's delicate mental state. With her sensible cousin Elizabeth MacPherson on hand for the festivities, Eileen hopes to have a friend in her corner for support.

Before joyous wedding bells can chime, though, murder makes an uninvited appearance. And no one in the strange wedding party is above
Jun 21, 2011 Melanti rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2011
The first time I heard the title "Sick of Shadows" I immediately thought of Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shallot." I was especially hopeful that the poem might be connected to this mystery despite the slight change of wording since my I found McCrumb through her Ballad Mysteries.

In this aspect, it did not disappoint - there are numerous parallels between the two works, though it is far from an actual "retelling" of the story. Tennyson's mysterious "curse" has always intrigued me, and it is inco
Jun 02, 2011 Maria rated it liked it
The author, Sharyn McCrumb, manages to infuse a lot of humor into this mystery. Everyone knows how painful it can be when roped into participating in a relative's wedding. The main character, Elizabeth, didn't know just how painful it was going to be! It was fun reading the witty repartee between Elizabeth and her cousins. However, I did feel that the majority of the characters were just caricatures of personality types. There was little depth shown in most of them, so they mostly seemed silly t ...more
Ginger Pierce
Jan 19, 2015 Ginger Pierce rated it liked it
I read this book long ago. Probably a couple of years after it came out. I don't remember much about the story except that I liked it enough that I bought every Elizabeth McPherson story as it came out and read them all. That led me to continue reading everything that Sharyn McCrumb has written since. I won't write reviews for everything. I'm just trying to catch up my Goodreads shelves with the more memorable authors I've read in the last twenty years or so.
Oct 23, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I grew up reading suspense novels. My mother always had lots of Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart on the shelves and my sister and I loved them. Sharyn McCrumb is both a great mystery writer and has the added benefit - - in my mind - - of being from the South. I love a story set in the Southern U.S. of A. Elizabeth is funny and just irreverent enough. The characters in Sick of Shadows are all engaging and interesting - - all very quirky and you begin to get a hint of Milo, Elizabeth's brother's f ...more
Mar 21, 2014 C rated it liked it
Better than Expected after having read "McPhearson's Lament" and "Bimbos of the Death Sun". The characters in this were deeper and better drawn and likable. Especially liked the Sheriff & would like to find him again. Started out slow; glad I persevered.
Oct 06, 2013 Mo rated it liked it
2 1/2 stars

I found the ending of this whodunit to be preposterous. It angers me when “poof”, a mystery is solved without any realistic explanation of how it was divined. I don’t think I would have bought the explanation even if it had been Sherlock Holmes reaching this conclusion, since it was based on such flimsy evidence.

This was Sharyn McCrumb’s first mystery featuring Elizabeth MacPherson. It was followed by ‘Lovely In Her Bones’, which was named the outstanding work of fiction for 1985 by t
Deborah Replogle
Dec 18, 2014 Deborah Replogle rated it liked it
I like Sharyn McCrumb later works. This is an earlier mystery work, I believe one of her first, and a good story though I can see through her style it's an earlier work. Still a good read with a female amateur detective. Funny in spots, but I did sort of see who the killer might be.
Oct 11, 2014 Joanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
McCrumb is funny. The mystery here is silly, and The Bad Guy violates my Crazy rule, which is that authors cheat when they have a perfectly normal character suddenly go crazy at the end, revealing himself to have been the villain.
Diane Wachter
PB-B @ 1984, 7/01. People come to Georgia for the marriage of rich Eileen Chandler, but no one likes the groom and suspect that he wants her inheritance. Liz MacPherson arrives to be in the wedding party, but the bride is killed before the wedding. Okay.
May 27, 2014 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: serial-mystery, 2014
In Sharyn MCCrumb's mystery debut, Sick of Shadows, she tells the story with an intricate and suspense in a most complicated mystery down in the South. When Elizabeth McPherson arrives for her cousin Eileen's wedding, everything's not what it seemed to be. Her family didn't like her fiancé; and she's been acting strange. Everything seemed to be connected to her painting, when she disappeared and later found out dead. It's up to Elizabeth and the police to find it out, when someone in her family ...more
Connie N.
An interesting murder mystery involving an eccentric family as they prepare for a wedding. I like the main character, Elizabeth, who is the narrator of the story. She is visiting her cousins and becomes involved in the mystery accidentally, and keeps her brother Bill updated via letters, which makes me think this is set in the early to mid-20th century. It's very easy to read, and I easily became involved with the characters. They are all pleasant, though some have darker personalities and shado ...more
Jul 04, 2011 Joy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, american, 20c
Everyone expect Eileen's wedding to be a farce, but it takes a turn for tragedy when she turns up dead just days before the big event.

The POV character here is Eileeen's cousin, Elizabeth, who comes from the less wealthy but also less crazy side of the family. Elizabeth is a sort of diffident detective, who stumbles upon answers more than she makes actual deductions. The chief appeal here is the black humor in McCrumb's portrayal of the highly dysfunctional Chandler family.

A quick, but fairly fo
Nov 02, 2013 Jennie rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I found this pretty watered-down and weak, even for a cozy. Elizabeth, the lead in this new series, barely makes an impression other than reflecting on how awkward she feels to be in the presence of family members she barely knows. Surround her with a larger-than-comfortable contingent of characters who are entirely too determined to be eccentric and quirky in different ways from each other and she pretty much fades into the tasteful, country-gentry woodwork.

The mystery itself doesn't even happ
Feb 09, 2016 Patty rated it liked it
Strange, but strangely entertains! Talk about a dysfunctional family who were enter suited to their literary heroes than real life!
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Sharyn McCrumb is an American writer whose books celebrate the history and folklore of Appalachia. Educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Virginia Tech, she has also taught Appalachian studies. She is married to David McCrumb, a corporate environmental director, and has two children, Laura and Spencer.
More about Sharyn McCrumb...

Other Books in the Series

Elizabeth MacPherson (9 books)
  • Lovely in Her Bones (Elizabeth MacPherson, #2)
  • Highland Laddie Gone (Elizabeth MacPherson, #3)
  • Paying the Piper (Elizabeth MacPherson, #4)
  • The Windsor Knot (Elizabeth MacPherson, #5)
  • Missing Susan (Elizabeth MacPherson, #6)
  • MacPherson's Lament (Elizabeth MacPherson, #7)
  • If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him... (Elizabeth MacPherson, #8)
  • The PMS Outlaws (Elizabeth MacPherson, #9)

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