Before She Was Helen
A mix of serious mystery and cheeky fun! Helen lives in a retirement community, where card games and being nosy are the big activities. When someone is murdered, she risks everyone finding out her past – even her own family. I thoroughly enjoyed it – and I’m not a mystery reader!
This is such a clever story! Yes it is a murder mystery, but I thought it was so witty! Of course there's loads of suspense, a dead body, someone dealing drugs and a bad guy threating a perfectly innocent woman. But. Wait. The woman has two cell phones, because she has an alias and she's in her eighties and she is a Latin teacher at the high school close to her retirement community. This is a different kind of suspense and it is a great read.
EDGAR AWARD NOMINEE FOR BEST NOVEL
"As Before She Was Helen opens, readers are drawn into what appears to be a light, retirement-community caper. But author Caroline B. Cooney quickly flips expectations upside-down in this deceptively dark mystery. Between old crimes and fresh murders, septuagenarian protagonist Clemmie faces an unspeakable fear that will keep readers hooked in this twisty whodunit."—Julie Hyzy, New York Times bestselling author
From the critically acclaimed, international bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney comes a domestic thriller perfect for fans of mystery books by Laura Lippman and Alice Feeney.
Her life didn't turn out the way she expected—so she made herself a new one
When Clemmie goes next door to check on her difficult and unlikeable neighbor Dom, he isn't there. But something else is. Something stunning, beautiful and inexplicable. Clemmie photographs the wondrous object on her cell phone and makes the irrevocable error of forwarding it. As the picture swirls over the internet, Clemmie tries desperately to keep a grip on her own personal network of secrets. Can fifty years of careful hiding under names not her own be ruined by one careless picture?
And although what Clemmie finds is a work of art, what the police find is a body. . . and she was the last person at the crime scene, where she left her fingerprints. Suddenly thrown into the heart of a twisted investigation, Clemmie finds herself the uncomfortable subject of intense scrutiny. And the bland, quiet life Clemmie has built for herself in her sleepy South Carolina retirement community comes crashing down as her dark past surges into the present.
From international bestselling author of The Face on the Milk Carton Caroline B. Cooney comes Before She Was Helen, an absorbing mystery that brings decades-old secrets to life and explores what happens when the lie you've been living falls apart and you're forced to confront the truth.
Praise for Before She Was Helen
"Caroline B. Cooney has a genius for skewering culture, crime, and society. As once she demonstrated to the world a pressing level of danger we needed to understand, now she whips millennial angst, recreational drug use, and one feisty, heroic retiree into a thrilling, toxic brew that will leave readers cheering by the end. Retirement villages never seemed so mysterious and exciting! Under Cooney's deft hand, hidden dangers emerge, and the ties that bind us, young and old, just may save us in the end." — Jenny Milchman, USA Today bestselling author of Cover of Snow and Wicked River
"As Before She Was Helen opens, readers are drawn into what appears to be a light, retirement-community caper. But author Caroline B. Cooney quickly flips expectations upside-down in this deceptively dark mystery. Between old crimes and fresh murders, septuagenarian protagonist Clemmie faces an unspeakable fear that will keep readers hooked in this twisty whodunit." — Julie Hyzy, New York Times bestselling author
"Caroline B. Cooney is a master of taking a small, common moment—seeing a face on a milk carton, posting a harmless photo—and turning that moment into a thrilling story. In this mystery, Cooney gives us Clemmie—a senior citizen living a long deception, who fights back with intelligence and courage against dangerous foes, both present and past. Before She Was Helen is an emotionally rich page-turner about the lives we want—and the lives we make" — Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Never Ask Me
"[M]ore Columbo than Miss Marple…A fine mystery from a highly regarded YA author." — Booklist
"I recommend BEFORE SHE WAS HELEN written by Caroline B. Cooney if you really want to read a mystery with a lot of twists and secrets. Every chapter is a new finding." — Fresh Fiction
"A good fat traditional mystery of about 300 pages, with spicy insight, and a perfect distraction from the stresses beyond the doors. Take the passenger seat with this remarkable lady under fire." — Kingdom Books
"Caroline Cooney's Before She Was Helen is a clever whodunnit featuring an immensely likable septuagenarian heroine with a tragic past. Cooney is deft at weaving together the mysteries of a fifty-year-old cold case murder and a still-warm body at a retirement community, slowly unveiling a slew of possible motives and suspects for both crimes. Loaded with action, fast-paced, and offering a series of emotional punches, this book will leave mystery lovers wanting more." — Carter Wilson, USA Today bestselling author
"Half cozy Miss Marple vibe, half gritty murder mystery." — BookPage
"[A] solid mystery." — Publishers Weekly