I recently read A Stranger in My Grave by Margaret Millar. She is a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master. It was originally published in 1960 and I would describe the book as literary, noir mystery.
The story is about a married woman named Daisy who hires a private detective/ bail bondsman to reclaim a lost day in her life. It has to do with her believing there is another person in her grave.
Of course she is alive; she knows that. But there is a reason for her belief. It is a nice hook to draw you into a story with some great twists and turns among believable characters.
There is a piece of writing, one paragraph that I loved that I want to share. It has to do with her trying to convince the detective, who thinks the woman is a bit off her rocker. The following is the paragraph:
“I didn’t lose the day. It’s not lost. It’s still around someplace, here or there, wherever used days and old years go. They don’t simply vanish into nothing. They’re still available— hiding, yes, but not lost.”
Of course the flip side is that there might be in those lost days something you may not want to discover. There are people surrounding Daisy that try to tell her some things are better lost, not found.
So I reread the paragraph. There is something wistful and naïve about her thinking. We as readers may stop and wonder about are lost days, that they can be recovered and wouldn’t that be nice. But then again . . .
It is one paragraph, well written, that lies within a well written story. The paragraph, like the story makes you think. That is good writing.