Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bury Me Deep -- Megan Abbott

I know I've been a little slow getting around to this one, but it's been reviewed in so many places that it doesn't need me to do any more cheerleading. The story, as you probably know by now, is a fictional retelling of the story of Winnie Ruth Judd.

Although I don't have any trunk murderers in my family, unlike some people (*kaff*Richard Moore*kaff*), some of my relatives were fascinated by that case, and I remember my grandmother and my aunt talking about it when I was a little kid. There were other references to it over the years, so I was aware of the basic story before I picked up
Bury Me Deep. This book goes way beyond the facts I knew, however, and fleshes out the characters in a way the turns the story into pure noir.

Marion Seeley is the Judd stand-in. She's married to a doctor with a morphine addiction. He's lost his license and goes to Mexico to work, leaving Marion behind in a little Arizona town where she falls in with the wrong crowd. Before long, she's going to wild parties, and not long after that, she's having an affair with a supposedly upright businessman who turns out to be anything but.

Marion's bad choices lead to even worse results, as they so often do in noir fiction, and while there's action and suspense aplenty, Bury Me Deep is really a character study. Why does Marion do the things she does? Why does she keep on doing them? Is she entirely to blame? How can a person do terrible things that don't fit with her own image of the kind of person she is? What can she do when everyone turns against her?

Megan Abbott is a skillful writer, and she's already won an Edgar. I'll be surprised if she's not nominated for another one. Bury Me Deep is just that good.


George said...

Megan Abbott is the Queen of Noir.

Cap'n Bob said...

She's an enormous talent, all right.

Deb said...

Just tell Patti "the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree."

This was one of my favorite books of 2009. I liked it so much, as soon as I'd finished, I read a non-fiction book about Winnie Ruth Judd. It made me wish the real Judd could have had an ending more like Megan's Marion had.

Lake Mills Library said...

Abbott does good work. She was nice enough to talk to me this past fall on video. I have been unable to upload the video file though. I don't have the proper rotten, stinking, stupid, lousy, video camera cable.