The Wrong Good Deed
by Caroline B. Cooney
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Pub Date 02 May 2023 | Archive Date 01 May 2023
She thought she had left that life behind forever. She was wrong.
1964: Christaphine is twenty years old, newly married, and determined to make a home and a life for her and her husband, Tommy. But when Christaphine discovers Tommy and his friends on the verge of committing a horrible crime, she does what she has to do to stop them. Afterwards, she knows she can't ever go home again--so she disappears.
50 years later: When Clemmie's neighbor, Muffin, drags her from Sunday morning service at Trinity Hill Church, convinced that the man she's just spotted across the aisle is a dangerous figure from her past, at first Clemmie thinks she's being dramatic. But as Muffin reveals to Clemmie what happened in the middle of a field in South Carolina five decades ago, Clemmie realizes her friend has been keeping dark secrets--just as Clemmie herself has. And the secrets that belong to both women are not the kind that can be revealed without dire consequences...
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 125 members
The Wrong Good Deed follows Muffin and Clemmie, (sort-of) friends in their seventies who live in the same retirement community. Over the course of a week, their heartbreaking pasts are told in a series of shocking revelations and surprising twists.
I was captivated by this novel from the very beginning. I loved reading from the POV of two women in their seventies; their personalities were so unique. The historical details from each of their lives were raw and unfiltered. It could have been a true story.
I read this all in one sitting. It’s a fast-paced, plot-driven, equal-parts exciting and sobering story. I loved every bit of it. Best book I’ve read in a while, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up on a bestseller list.
A huge thank-you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the complimentary eARC in exchange for my honest review.
The Wrong Good Deed
by Caroline B. Cooney
This is a beautiful, very well-written book. I was lost in this in the first pages. Once in a long while, will a book read out and you become one watching the story, painted, raw, emotional and so feel of depth. The Wrong Good Deed is definitely this one. It could be a movie, and should.
Muffin and Clemmie are friends in their seventies who live in the same retirement community. Both have their points of view.
This book was a surprise. It's not often a publisher or author takes a chance on a mystery involving elderly women, but this book was great.
I have read Caroline B. Cooney books since childhood, and this adult book was a great mystery with engaging and interesting characters, all of whom are seniors. The book's main mystery involves a civil rights era crime and an unlikely hero along with an unlikely victim. The book also touches on aging and society's ability to make the old, especially women, both unbeautiful and invisible.
While a serious subject, the book was engaging and never preachy. I really enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it!
'The Wrong Good Deed' was completely unexpected. The story starts off doddery like its two aged protagonists: Muffin and Clemmie. At church, one Sunday, Muffin is shocked and terrified to recognise a long-forgotten acquaintance. Clemmie thinks Muffin has, annoyingly, lost her marbles. They both make a hasty exit but it's too late; a Pandora's Box of memories has already been opened and can't be closed.
Ostensibly, 'The Wrong Good Deed' is about a haunted past catching up with Muffin. 50 years ago Muffin made a spontaneous decision to stop her husband and his friends from committing a repugnant crime. Her good deed saved a life but it put her in danger. As Muffin reveals her story, however, we learn about racism, anger, and de-segregation, and are left pondering, 'can you be a racist, or implicit in a crime, simply by omission?'. When another murder is committed, just who is the criminal?
'The Wrong Good Deed' is a short, pacey book of fewer than 300 pages, which transpires over a week. This makes it an easy read, and, on the surface of it, a simple who-done-it. However, the circumstances around the characters' past really add depth to the overall story. I enjoyed the read.
Caroline Cooney is a local gem and still a bit legendary to me, I thrilled at her poignant suspense fiction as a youth and I do so again now as an adult. The Wrong Good Deed caught me at just the right time, coming off the heels of being disappointed after *finally* reading Where the Crawdads Sing. A southern slow burn mystery that didn't overstay its welcome or sell out.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced digital copy.