Book Review: Music of Ghosts by Sallie Bissell

By Haywood County Library | May 20, 2013

Reviewed by Keneitha Bryson, Library Assistant at the Canton Branch Library

Sallie Bissell received a typewriter as a Christmas present from her parents the year she turned 8 years old.  It was that blue Underwood typewriter that started her writing career.  She wrote stories for her family, school assignments and for herself.  A friend asked if she would like to help ghost write a series of books for girls who loved horses. Sallie jumped right into that.  For two years, that was a pleasure that led to writing for publication on her own.

Sallie divides her time between Tennessee and North Carolina. When she was in Asheville, she wrote a book about a young Cherokee girl whose mother was killed.  This girl grew up to become a lawyer and came back to the mountains to find out for certain what and who was the cause of her mother’s death.  She takes a job with the county attorney’s office, which puts her into a position to investigate the “cold case” of her mother’s murder.

Moving back to the mountains of North Carolina also gave her a chance to become deeply involved with her friend John Walkingstick and his daughter.  She and John were close growing up, but lost touch after Mary went to law school.  Now she wonders if they might become closer now that they are adults.  Mary’s job has become a sore point between the two of them.  John wants to protect Mary from the very things she must investigate because of her job.

Sheriff Jerry Cochran calls on her to help with a case involving a decades-old cabin where local superstition says a man killed his wife and her lover.  A group of young people from a raptor rescue preserve were at the cabin to see if the ghosts will appear on their camera that has been left running all night.  One of the girls is missing from her sleeping bag the next morning  A short search turns up her dead body in the surrounding woods.  Sheriff Cochran and Mary Crow have to find a killer before he can strike again.

This is the fifth novel in the “Mary Crow” series, all of which are great mysteries featuring local color and people.  Our own “Bird Lady” Doris Mager is mentioned as the “greatest raptor rescue person ever.”