THE STAGGERFORD FLOOD by Jon Hassler (Viking, 199 pages $24.95)

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 mother.

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 over KRKU radio three mornings a week; and Frederick Lopat, Agatha's grand-nephew who occupies a room in her house on River Street.

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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Last modified: October 19, 2002