Publication date: October 1, 2017
“They’re back! If you loved On the Rocks, you’ll be thrilled to have this new adventure of Willa and Edith. This time they’re in New Mexico tracking down the unsolved murders of too many women. Sue Hallgarth has done it again: the combination of deep knowledge of the geographic terrain, its history, Cather’s literary preoccupations, and Hallgarth’s feminist sensibility have brought us another suspenseful, terrific read.” — Joan W. Scott, author of Gender and the Politics of History and The Fantasy of Feminist History
“My new favorite book is Death Comes! It made distant memories real and simpatico. What a delight to see them. And the beautiful Taos you let me walk through. I especially want to thank you for including Spud. He was always there, so it’s nice to have him recognized. I only knew him as an old man who always stopped to listen to a child. You showed me a young man who would become the one I knew and loved.” — Claudia Smith Miller, great-granddaughter of Mabel Dodge Luhan
“Death Comes is a clever play on the novel that Willa Cather worked on in Taos, New Mexico, in the summers of 1925 and 1926, Death Comes for the Archbishop. Hallgarth has done serious historical and cultural research, cleverly highlighting Willa Cather’s virtues as a strong-willed sleuth…. This is a very good read: as a story of 1920s Taos — including race and class relations, as a portrait of the Mabel Dodge Luhan circle, and, last but not least, as a murder mystery.” — Lois Rudnick, author of Mabel Dodge Luhan: New Woman, New Worlds
“Willa Cather is traveling in northern New Mexico while polishing her manuscript Death Comes for the Archbishop when she and her companion Edith Lewis are caught up in the mystery surrounding the deaths of three women near D.H. Lawrence’s ranch. An intriguing story for those of us who always wished we had been there when Mabel Dodge Luhan held court in Taos for luminaries of art and literature.” — Judith Ryan Hendricks, author of Isabel’s Daughter and The Laws of Harmony
“The second book in Hallgarth’s Willa Cather and Edith Lewis mystery series captures the vivid and compelling landscape of the Taos, NM territorial west. A historical mystery with real people — think Mabel Dodge and Tony Luhan, Long John Dunn, Arthur Manby — and everyday life in the settling west. Compelling and richly imagined by a masterful storyteller. I didn’t want it to end.” — Betty Palmer, op.cit books, Taos, NM
“Our favorite literary sleuths are back! And this time Willa Cather and Edith Lewis are summering in Taos, New Mexico. Guests of Mabel Dodge Luhan, the amiable pair are planning for nothing more taxing than a month’s worth of writing and painting. Then an unsettling excursion to the D. H. Lawrence Ranch changes everything. Entertaining and edifying, Death Comes is a compelling mystery set in New Mexico, that place Cather described as a ‘landscape one longed for when one was away.’ ” — Sharon Oard Warner, co-director D.H. Lawrence Ranch and author of Sophie’s House of Cards
One of the top ten Titles to Pick Up Now —O, The Oprah Magazine
“…Cather fans will enjoy the atmosphere, and Hallgarth captures the local color well, providing a look at the eccentric island residents, the small-town politics, and the life of the [two] women’s communities.” —American Library Association Booklist
“Cather aficionados will be especially interested in the author’s take on Willa Cather’s personal history. The amiable cottage colony on Grand Manan is lovingly captured . . . in a sparkling new literary mystery series.” —Nancy Rutland, founder of Bookworks bookstore, Albuquerque, NM
“What a terrific read. I loved every minute of it, the historical accuracy as well as the carefully managed plot. —Joan Wallach Scott, author of Gender and the Politics of History, and Women’s Studies on the Edge
Albuquerque Journal‘s David Steinberg shouts out Sue Hallgarth’s “Debut Mystery,”
“…the strength of the book is in Hallgarth’s ability to paint a scene. Her research about Grand Manan, Cather & Lewis, and the time period are obviously top notch.” —WildmooBooks
“This historic, literary mystery is the first of what could be a terrific new series. The setting—on the Canadian island of Grand Maras in 1929—is captivating and the story engaging. On the Rocks is a real treat!”—Rose City Reader.com
“Utterly absorbing . . . Hallgarth spins her tale with an artistry that allows us to imagine a time and place as compelling as a dream.” —Kathleen Hill, author of Who Occupies This House and Still Waters in Niger
“Sue Hallgarth incorporates the spectacular setting of Grand Manan into a mystery set among summer colonies of feminist artists, colorful island types, and suspicious visitors. Cather readers will detect her pronouncements on writing and life, and the island rock itself, a Cather symbol of survival, becomes here a solid contrast to the human foibles that play out on its surface.” —John Murphy, Board of Governors, The Willa Cather Foundation
“On the Rocks is sophisticated and yet has a wonderful innocence. It conveys a convincing sense of the period. The characters are rounded, real. It is funny. It is compelling. It is a good tale.” —Jake Page, author of the Mo Bowdre mystery series
“I enjoyed the fun and energy of On the Rocks!” —Lucia Woods Lindley, Board of Governors, The Willa Cather Foundation
“…ON THE ROCKS is a riveting addition to historical fiction collections and those with a love for the artistic life.” —The Midwest Book Review
Sue Hallgarth KUNM Interview (MP3) with Susan Thom Loubet
Arbor Farm Press is publishing Sue’s first novel and recently conducted an interview with her:
AFP: What prompted you to write this novel?
SH: It began with an image, a visual image of a body dropping from a cliff. I have no idea why that image came to mind, but when it did I was curious enough to spend time considering what it would be like to see the actual event, what caused it, what would happen next, who might see it, what would happen then. When it occurred to me that the cliff could be on Grand Manan and Willa Cather’s partner Edith Lewis the viewer, I was off and writing.
To request an advance review copy, an author photo, or a high resolution PDF of the book cover, or to schedule interviews, readings, or book signings, please contact Mary Bisbee-Beek, Arbor Farm Press publicity and marketing.