THE STAGGERFORD FLOOD by Jon Hassler (Viking, 199 pages
My new novel, The Staggerford Flood, came out in
September. It's about a late, wet spring during which the Badbattle River
overflows its banks and drives a number of people out of their houses.
Agatha McGee invites seven friends and neighbors to bunk with her for
four days and nights, because her house is the highest in the neighborhood and
the only one spared from the flood. Most of these people, besides Agatha, my
readers will recognize from previous books:
Lillian Kite, Agatha's lifelong friend from across the
alley and her daughter Imogene, a nasty malcontent.
Janet Meers, the woman who accompanied Agatha on her green
journey to Ireland some years ago, and her daughter Sara, a teenager whose first
love appears to be the telephone.
Beverly Bingham Cooper, who was a major player in the novel
Staggerford, the high school student who lived with her deranged
Linda Schwartzman, the married name of Staggerford's new
undertaker. She turns out to be the
former Linda Mayo, the student Simon Shea fell in love with in Simon's Night.
The only newcomer is Calista Holister, an old friend of
Agatha's who is grieving for her dead sister.
My readers may also be interested to meet again Father
Frank Healy (North of Hope) who has come to St. Isidore'ss church in
Staggerford as its new pastor; Leland Edwards and his mother Lollie (Rookery
Blues and The Dean's List), the latter of whom, despite a
chronic cough, is still broadcasting her "Lollie Speaking" show
There are others. I'm not sure why I felt the urge to bring all these old characters back to life. It may have been a feeling that this would be my last novel about Agatha McGee, and I wanted to let my readers know how all these people getting along at present. On the other hand, maybe it was simply easier to bring all these ready-made characters onstage rather than go to the trouble of inventing new ones. Whatever the reason, I, for one, was happy to meet them all again.
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