The Silent Women by Margaret Page Hood

Her own father said:

She was a beautiful woman no one could handle (he said) – a taunting siren who could steal another woman’s man with a flick of her lashes, and a devil who enjoyed doing it.

She was a temptress (he said) who drove men to violence and women to jealous frenzy. And he feared for her, warning that the passions she aroused in others might end in her own violent death.

Then she vanished (he said) – on an island too small to hide a living body, but big enough to camouflage a corpse.
(back cover)

“He’s crazy!” they said,

when the old man claimed his daughter was on the island. She had left years before and never returned. But he insisted she had come back.

“Impossible!” they said.

No one could have come without their knowledge. But he swore she’d been there – and then had vanished.

“Hallucinations!” they said.

His loneliness had driven him insane. But he charged that they were lying conspirators, that his beautiful daughter was real.

It was a case for the law. For – if she had come, and if she were real, and if she had vanished –
Maybe she was murdered!
(front page)

I really enjoyed this book! Well written, solid good characters, steady suspense and well balanced clues. Hood did a great job of keeping you off balance, was she on the island or wasn’t she?

Wonderful sense of atmosphere and lovely descriptions of the island and Maine life. Your really there. Delicious fog abounds and really sets the atmosphere for this chilling tale. Of course its one of my favorite places on earth so I might be prejudice!

Here are some excerpts from the book to give you a peek into her lovely writing…

‘The path followed the course of a brook through the woods. He could hear the cheerful gurgle of its falling waters as they hurried down to the sea. A good place for catching smelts. In season a likely spot for the silvery water. A thorny branch of blackberry slapped him in the face, a few wizened berries clung to the vine in defiance of autumn. In spite of their seediness their flavor was pleasant and spicy on his tongue. The golden brown of the ferns was beaded with fog, the slender fronds bent under the weight. A mountain ash defied the swirling gray veils to extinguish the brilliant red of its clustered fruits. There was a whirr as a woodcock rose almost under his feet. The brook and the path descended quickly to the meadow at the edge of the cove. Mingling with the fog he saw gray smoke rising from Giovanni’s chimney.’

‘He hurried up the brook path onto the narrow trail. The fog was thick as ever, but his feet automatically knew the way. His head was filled with thoughts of a girl in a red dress. A girl Miss Martha said was a figment of Giovanni’s longing. Was the old man batty? Or had Miss Martha lied? But why should a woman like Miss Martha lie? Perhaps the girl had come without being seen. Giovanni admitted she hadn’t come on a regular boat, had picked up a chance ride with a passing pleasure cruiser. Perhaps she’d gone back the same way. That was much more likely than that she’d been murdered. Wh’d kill a girl on this island? The mamma’s boy tending his sheep, or Miss Martha’s brother off at his lodge convention, or the sulky Oley fishing on the Banks?’

‘Fogs of Penobscot Bay have a dramatic quality. They advance suddenly from the sea shutting a thick white wall around the islands, blanketing the small lobster boats running for home. they slam the door of oblivion on all that stirs and breathes. As suddenly, when the wind changes, they retreat. Sometimes they pour along the surface of the water like milk, while the islands rise above them, floating dreamlike and unsubstantial. sometimes they soar upward to pass out to sea like scudding clouds, while the islands reappear as if born again into a world of sun-flecked waves and spear-pointed firs.”

“Once he’d set a rabbit trap on his grandfather’s farm. He’d gone out next morning whistling, his dog at his heels. A bold backwoodsman, a Daniel Boone. He’d found the rabbit in the trap, alive. It had looked at him with frightened eyes. He knew he had to kill it. It had screamed horribly as he brought the stick down across its neck. these people were in a trap, and he had to finish them off. Even if the memory of their cries haunted him like the scream of the rabbit.”

This book counts for Scavenger Hunt 2016 Gold category Dead Body.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s