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A Crime in the Neighbourhood

by Suzanne Berne

This is a coming of age novel set in 1972 in an East Coast suburb in the US. But it’s much more than that. From the outset A Crime in the Neighbourhood resonates with suspicion, fear and curtain-twitching paranoia.

In a mid-Watergate America, which is struggling against the Communist threat in the Vietnamese war, the "dream" has been shattered and so has the life of ten year old Marsha, the heroine of this novel. A series of events rocks her world. Her father deserts the family for her mother’s sister and a local boy is raped and murdered. With the community in a state of shock a vigilante patrol is set up, fuelling the sense of fear amongst the local people in the erstwhile peaceful suburb.

After a fall in which she breaks her leg, an immobilised Marsha begins a journal, charting the movements of the neighbours, and unwittingly implicates a new person to the area, the enigmatic Mr Green, in the crime. After these life-changing events Marsha’s innocence begins to evaporate as she slips into early adulthood.

Written in simple prose with ease and lucidity, A Crime in the Neighbourhood grips from the outset and will be enjoyed by adults and adolescents alike.

Read our interview with Suzanne Berne.

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