The Day of Small Things

BOOK: The Day of Small Things
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PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF VICKI LANE

IN A DARK SEASON

A
Romantic Times
Best Mystery and Suspense Novels of 2008 Pick

Anthony Nominee for Best Paperback Original

“The precise details and many mysteries are all skillfully drawn together at the end, and the main characters are clearly developed, complicated people who have lives outside the mystery. Elizabeth Goodweather is a perfect protagonist who shows that there can be intelligence and romance after 50.”


Romantic Times

“Vicki Lane is a born storyteller in the finest tradition of Sharyn McCrumb. Lane’s best yet,
In a Dark Season
, is a haunting, lyrical tale of the Appalachians, as heartbreaking as it is magical. Brooding, suspenseful, and superbly written, Lane’s Marshall County mysteries rank among the best regional fiction anywhere today.”

—J
ULIA
S
PENCER
-F
LEMING

“Suspenseful, atmospheric, and beautifully written.”

—S
ARAH
G
RAVES

“Lane craftily deepens the swiftly moving plot with liberal sprinklings of Carolina folklore.”


Publishers Weekly

OLD WOUNDS

“Lane is very adept at creating complex, multi-faceted stories that move effortlessly from one time period to another and characters with incredible depth. She is also a master of using sensory details to make locale come alive.
Old Wounds
exemplifies these talents. Readers weary of reading too many mysteries featuring frothy amateur sleuths won’t find a better antidote than
Old Wounds!”


Mystery News

“Vicki Lane is quite simply the best storyteller there is. Her books, like her Appalachian home, have everything: mystery, suspense, beauty, heart, and soul.”

—J
OHN
R
AMSEY
M
ILLER

“A story so exquisitely written and perfectly paced, you will not want to put this book down.
Old Wounds
is a powerful and very personal mystery for the thoughtful Elizabeth Goodweather to solve.”

—J
ACKIE
L
YNN

ART’S BLOOD

“Lane’s sharp eye for detail gets put to good use in this second installment of her Appalachian series.… The widow Good weather is a wonderful character: plucky, hip and wise. The dialogue sparkles with authenticity, and Lane generates suspense without sacrificing the charm and mystique of her mountain community.”


Publishers Weekly

“Lane mixes the gentle craft of old-time quilting with the violence of a slaughtered innocent.”

—Greensboro
News & Record

“Lane is a master at creating authentic details while building suspense.”


Asheville Citizen-Times

SIGNS IN THE BLOOD

“Vicki Lane shows us an exotic and colorful picture of Appalachia from an outsider’s perspective—through a glass darkly. It is a well-crafted, suspenseful tale of the bygone era before ‘Florida’ came to the mountains.”

—S
HARYN
M
C
C
RUMB


Signs in the Blood
turns the beauty of the Appalachian hills and a widow’s herb and flower farm into the backdrop for modern menace. This clash of the traditional and the modern makes for an all-nighter of satisfying suspense.”


Mystery Lovers Bookshop News

“For readers familiar with the sound and feel of mountain life, this book rings with a resonance that is true to the life it describes. For everyone else, this book opens a peephole into a world both hauntingly strange and achingly beautiful.… Regional mystery lovers, take note. A new heroine has come to town and her arrival is a time for rejoicing.”


Rapid River Magazine

Also by Vicki Lane

In a Dark Season

Old Wounds

Art’s Blood

Signs in the Blood

The Day of Small Things
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

A Dell Mass Market Original

Copyright © 2010 by Vicki Lane

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Dell, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

D
ELL
is a registered trademark of Random House, Inc., and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

eISBN: 978-0-440-33971-7

www.bantamdell.com

v3.1

Threescore and ten I can remember well;
Within the volume of which time I have seen
Hours dreadful and things strange; but this sore night
Hath trifled former knowings.

William Shakespeare
, Macbeth (II.4.1–4)

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing …

William Butler Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium”

To Kate Miciak,
who wanted to let me spread my wings
and, so doing, let Birdie spread hers.

And, as always, to John.

Acknowledgments

First of all I must thank Karol Kavaya and Madelon Heatherington, members of my former critique group, who wouldn’t let me kill off Miss Birdie back in the first book. Who knew how many readers (including my editor) would love this woman so much?

For all who’ve asked, Miss Birdie is not based on anyone I’ve ever known but is a composite, enhanced with a very generous dose of my own imagination. In this connection, I have to note, with sorrow, the passing of two of my friends and neighbors: Mearl Davis and Grace Henderson, two strong mountain women and great ladies who shared some DNA with Miss Birdie.

Thanks go also to Kathy Hendricks, who told me a story of a mother and a daughter that gave me an idea. Judith Arnn-Knight pointed me to useful websites. Nancy Meadows loaned me the diaries of her aunts Inez and Odessa, and their names as well; Tammy Powell shared some old-time names and ways. Thanks to Kathryn Stripling Byer, North Carolina’s poet laureate, whose work is a continuing inspiration; to Mary Pat Franklin, who answered questions; and to Calvin Edney, who told me about the hatpin lady. (Sadly, there really was one.)

Thanks to Ann Collette, my wonderful agent, who always cheers me up when I begin to have doubts about my alleged career; to Deb Dwyer, the sharp-eyed copy editor who catches my mistakes and leaves lovely comments in the margins of the manuscript; and to Randall Klein, who has dealt kindly with my unusual additions to this book.

And to all the readers who send me supportive e-mails, and especially to the readers of my newsletter and (almost) daily blog, who have lived and suffered through the long, long birthing of this book: You all have kept me going through some dark moments. I hope you enjoy Miss Birdie’s story.

(And now, on to the next book and the resolution of that cliff-hanger.)

Contents
Part I - Least: Dark Holler, 1922–1938
Part III - Miss Birdie: Ridley Branch, May 2007
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