Sunday, September 2, 2012


Miss Me When I'm Gone: A Novel


384 pages
Published July 31st 2012 
William Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN: 0062103105
(ISBN13: 9780062103109)
About the Book . . .
MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE is the story of the sudden death of Gretchen, the author of Tammyland, a "honky-tonk" Eat, Pray, Love, and Jamie, the friend who finds in Gretchen's next, unpublished manuscript a mystery that could lead to a killer.

Gretchen Waters is most famous for her book Tammyland-a "honky-tonk Eat, Pray, Love," a memoir about her divorce and her admiration for Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton. When Gretchen dies falling on a set of stone steps outside of a library, everyone thinks it was an accident or a botched mugging. Jamie, Gretchen's best friend from college, certainly has no reason to suspect foul play. That is, until she becomes Gretchen's literary executor. Gretchen's latest manuscript is much darker than Tammyland-ostensibly about her favorite classic male country singers, it's really about a murder in her family that haunted her childhood. From beyond the grave, Gretchen's writing opens up a sinister new world, and suddenly, Gretchen's death seems suspicious-and then Jamie finds herself in danger as well...
About the Author . . .    
Emily Arsenault is the critically acclaimed author of The Broken Teaglass, a New York Times Notable Mystery, and In Search of the Rose Notes. She lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with her husband and daughter.    
Reader Review . . . 
Jamie is almost seven months pregnant when her college friend, Gretchen Waters, dies suddenly and under mysterious circumstances.  Gretchen had been working on a follow-up to her first book, Tammyland, when she died, but when Jamie is given her notes, it appears that Gretchen had changed her plans for the book and was investigating her mother's murder and her paternity instead.  It seems that someone has had a secret for many years, and that someone does not appreciate Jamie following up on Gretchen's notes.
This novel had my interest from the very beginning.  The front cover looked interesting; the back cover blurb sounded good, and when I started reading, I was hooked.   When the back cover of a murder mystery mentions Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton, you know you've found something new.  Growing up in Kentucky, I had heard quite a bit about Loretta and Dolly, but I actually learned quite a bit about Tammy (nice name, BTW).  Ms. Arsenault's writing style holds the interest of the reader.  Chapters of the current mystery are interspersed with chapters of Tammyland, the "memoirs" of Gretchen Waters.  Great idea.  She grabbed my attention on page 6 with her description of an email sent by Gretchen to Jamie.  Jamie read it but did not respond, and then was riddled with guilt after Gretchen's death.  This is the type of thing I can imagine doing.  But the description of the email itself was what first caught my attention:
"This was Gretchen's version of a drunk dial:  a garbled email full of cryptic, vaguely sentimental insights without much context.  (And with a little practical bit at the end, to make it all seem casual.)" 

This is a description half of my friends could give of my emails.  It was slightly embarrassing seeing it in print, but knowing that a stranger had written that line meant that I had to read the rest of the book.  And when it was finished, I was sorry to see it end.

5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Goodreads First Reads book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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