In the southern part of the Bronx is a neighborhood that has a unique history, some intriguing secrets, and the fascinating characters who populate There Was an Old Woman: A Novel of Suspense.
Two elderly women are the centerpiece of this story: Mina Yetner, a feisty old woman who is fiercely determined to protect her independence; and Sandra Ferrante, an alcoholic who is slowly killing herself, and whose home resembles something from a hoarders’ show.
Evie and Ginger are Sandra’s daughters, and are called into service after Sandra is hospitalized. But what has caused her latest incapacity is not just the alcohol abuse. What else has led to her illness, and who or what might be to blame?
And why are houses in the neighborhood suddenly being demolished by the same company?
Evie, as the curator for the historical society, is definitely interested in preservation and becomes even more intrigued as she comes to the neighborhood to clean up her mother’s house. What else will she learn about the neighborhood and its residents? Who can she trust? And why is Mina’s pushy nephew Brian trying to get her to deed over her house to the company responsible for the demolitions?
I could not put this book down! The story is narrated alternately from the perspectives of Mina and Evie, and the suspense builds slowly, casting suspicion on various others and their exploits. In the end, I was not shocked by some of the behind-the-scenes perpetrators. One was kind of a surprise, although I did have my suspicions about that one, too.
My favorite character was Mina, and I was rooting for her from the get-go. There was just something so appealing about her. Perhaps because we all fear getting older and losing independence, it is great to root for those who are fighting that inevitable decline. A definite five star read.