Killingly – Katharine Beutner


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Based on the unsolved real-life disappearance of a Mount Holyoke student in 1897, Killingly weaves a haunting spell of intrigue, longing, and terror, perfect for fans of Donna Tartt and Sarah Waters.

Bertha Mellish, “the most peculiar, quiet, reserved girl” at Mount Holyoke College, is missing. One cold November morning the junior is spotted walking through the Massachusetts woods; then, she vanishes. As a search team dredges the pond where she might have drowned, Bertha’s panicked father and sister arrive at the campus desperate to find some clue as to her fate or state of mind. Bertha’s best friend, Agnes, a scholarly loner studying medicine, might know the truth, but she is being unhelpfully tight-lipped, inciting the suspicions of Bertha’s family, her classmates, and the private investigator hired by the Mellish family doctor. As secrets from Agnes and Bertha’s lives come to light, so do the competing agendas driving each person who is searching for Bertha.

Where did Bertha go? Who would want to hurt her? And could she still be alive?

Edmund White Award–winning author Katharine Beutner crafts a real-life unsolved mystery into an immersive, unforgettable work of literary crime fiction–a beautifully drawn historical portrait of queerness, family trauma, and the risks faced by women who dared to pursue unconventional paths at the end of the 19th century.


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