Allyson Langston's Reviews > Quiet Dell

Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips
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really liked it

Disclaimer: this book "had" me before the first paragraph of the first chapter with it's setting--Park Ridge, Illinois. That's my hometown. My darling, adorable hometown. Suburban Chicago, early curfew, "action ridge," hometown. So I was engaged before the first word, for a big part of this novel involved a family from my hometown that I had never heard of prior to this read.

The Eicher family grew up in Park Ridge and disappeared a little more than 40 years before I was born. Their home still stand today (312
Cedar Street) and I will, of course, have to drive by and look at it next time I'm home.

So enough about the one of the main settings in the novel. This is a grisly story about a serial killer who was finally discovered in the early 1930s, thanks to the Eicher family. The author does a good job with character development--you can easily visualize Anta, Gerthe, Hart, and sweet Annabelle, and their state. The author also does a good job reassuring the reader that the Eichers are indeed in a better place, giving us glimpses into Annabelle's heavenly experience. The author also seemlessly laces in newspaper clippings, testimony from court, and photographs and details about the lives people lead back then.

Her four fictional characters are believable to a point, and you certainly cheer for them to have some sense of peace after reporting on this horror. In my opinion, the "romance scenes" were not necessary and did little or nothing to add to the plotline. One of her underlying themes about homosexuality in the 30's was also probably more for today's audience--and equally unnecessary.

I am sad to learn the story of the Eichers as well
as the countless "fat and 40 lonely hearts" that Cornelius Piersen, aka Herman Powers, preyed upon for his sick pleasure. I am grateful he was hanged within 30 days of his trial so the horrors he committed could end once and for all.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 29, 2013 – Shelved

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