Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Monkey's Ghost, by Rosalind Barden

"The Monkey's Ghost," by Rosalind Barden, in History and Mystery, Oh My!, edited by Sarah E. Glenn, Mystery and History, LLC, 2015.

The publisher's sent me a copy of this book for free. 

This story is mostly about setting, if you stretch setting to include the minor characters, which I think you can.

The narrator grew up during the depression in the Bunker Hill neighborhood of Los Angeles.

To live there was the height of fashion in the Gay Nineties of the previous century,.  The prominent families of the day decorated Bunker Hill's steep streets with colorful candy-like fantasies of Victorian homes.

But by the 1930s the area had fallen on hard times and the narrator and her family live in an apartment building surrounded by these old homes and some old, eccentric neighbors.  One of them (according to a local gossip, an elderly magician) was the only child of a wealthy man, and she married a scoundrel who abandoned her.  But first he bought her a monkey, and the story goes, one day she threw the ape out the window, killing it.  Or maybe the monkey was already dead. Or maybe it wasn't a monkey...

Naturally the local kids become obsessed with this strange story.  I did not expect the outcome.  This was a fun read.

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