Monday, August 31, 2009

Celia Fremlin: R.I.P.

I was sad to learn today that Celia Fremlin, an Edgar Award winner for The Hours Before Dawn, died June 16, just a few days shy of her 95th birthday. I saw the notice on Sarah Weinman's blog Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind who read about it in Martin Edwards' blog. Her death went relatively unreported until now. Check out Jan Burke's Tribute.

I've used The Hours Before Dawn several times in my classes and in my bookgroup, always to overwhelming positive response. I even gave it to my psychoanalyst/mystery loving father. Found out he read it when it came out--and thought it was a fine mystery.

Fremlin had a way of capturing the reader in a very chilling way. Louise Henderson in this novel is sleep deprived after the birth of her child. She is so tired that she "sees" things that may or may not have happened. I feel that really good books have scenes that stick with you, and this book is filled with them. Positively haunting. Read it! This book is still in print from Academy Chicago.

Obit added in the Guardian in September by Margaret Kettlewell, Fremlin's niece. Go here.

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