Dark Nantucket Noon, by Jane Langton
Katherine, or Kitty as everyone calls her, returns to the island of Nantucket especially to view a spectacular, noon eclipse of the sun. She flies from her Boston home, time away from teaching, to experience nature’s show in the only place where the entire total eclipse will be visible. She’s certain she won’t run into her passionate love, Joe Green, or his wife while she’s there.
Kitty runs far out along the beach, and ends up viewing the dramatic event by a lighthouse on a seemingly deserted spit on Nantucket Sound. When the daylight returns, the most beautiful woman on the island, Joe’s wife, lies dead in a pool of blood at Kitty’s feet. Joe and others who were viewing the eclipse from inside the lighthouse run out onto the murder scene.
Homer Kelly, salt-of-the-earth homicide detective turned Harvard professor, and occasional amateur sleuth, shows up at the jail believing in Kitty’s innocence. This mystery novel is one of a series featuring Homer Kelly.
During his murder investigation, and defense of this capricious, creative, poet and teacher, Kelly learns a lot about the people living on the island. He discovers a passion to preserve the precious environment, and also a competing hunger to draw more people and development.
This author treats us to a very detailed picture of this special place on earth. Jane Langton is now 93 years old living in Lincoln, Massachusetts. She was born and raised in Boston. Her passion for Nantucket shines through in her writing, and also in her wonderful line drawings that are scattered throughout the book. Langton said she also used her drawing skills to help with the writing itself. “Drawing comes in handy in moments of desperation when a plot refuses to get itself organized,” she said.
So early on, she started using a writing technique she calls Plotting with Charts: “I make tiny drawings on Post-it notes and stick them on a long piece of shelf paper. Then, because the glue on the back is forgiving, I can move the episodes around, trying them in different combinations.”
Besides her mystery series, she’s written about a dozen delightful children’s books. Then, in 1970 she witnessed a solar eclipse in Nantucket, and decided to combine the event with her astronomy studies at Wellesley College in this Homer Kelly novel which came out in 1975. No wonder her description of the eclipse and its impacts are so fascinating.
If you like discovering beautiful natural environments and animals, if you like meeting interesting characters and suspects, and certainly if you like solving an intriguing cozy mystery that masterfully unfolds, then you’ll want to read a Dark Nantucket Noon.
Thereby hangs a tale . . . .
– By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.