Nevada Barr has serious skills. Many may know her writing from the Anna Pigeon/National Park series. The stand-alone novel, What Rose Forgot enjoys the same excellent writing. Yet, the tone is new and fresh. This ability to excel outside of the writer’s and loyal readers’ comfort zone is rare.
Even though there is mystery and mayhem from beginning to end. There is also humor. The laugh out loud kind. I love the characters as well as the commentary. Rose Dennis escapes from a lock-down facility for severe dementia sufferers. And yet returns again and again. Each time more comedic. Much like Lucille Ball.
Plot and Characters of What Rose Forgot
A simplistic and straight-forward plot of drugging, committing and then killing the patients is wholly entertaining due to the scenes that move the plot along. The setting is suburban Charlotte, North Carolina. Think large back yards backing onto a Greenbelt. And Teepees and playhouses holding fort and providing sanctuary.
As Rose pushes past the drug-induced fog, her mind begins to follow the money trail. She is aided by a couple of young teenagers, attached to cell phones and their ubiquitous apps. How did we survive without Uber and Lyft?
Through a series of slapstick terrors, Rose survives various attempts on her life. Then she convinces the flunkies to turn on the money and work with her, not off her. Of course her plotting goes awry.
Perhaps what I liked best about the character of Rose Dennis is her concern about Karma. She truly embodies the philosophy. Rose tries to mitigate the wrong she is committing. Sometimes she succeeds.
Karma occurs throughout What Rose Forgot. Good intentions can mitigate bad deeds. But malevolence is punished to the fullest. What goes around comes around. So be kind to others.
What Rose Forgot
In this humorous and sometimes scary novel, the murder victims are only names in the pages. Rose is quirky but the dementia is drug-induced. She uncovers the nefarious scheme only because she is a victim. Obviously Rose did not forget enough in What Rose Forgot.
I have read many if not all of Barr’s Anna Pigeon books as well as one or two of the others. Truly I enjoyed this one the most. Maybe it was the humor. Maybe the suspense was good without sending me over the edge. Definitely, it was the character of Rose. I would love to see more. Perhaps Rose can really hook up with Lyft driver Brian….
The waiting list to check out What Rose Forgot on Libby is over six months long. Fortunately I had picked up a copy at the Barnes and Noble on my last trip to the nearest city before the lockdown. This book is a keeper and the money well spent. Buy a copy soon!