Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Beginning: The Difficult Sister by Judy Nedry


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

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February is the cruelest month in western Oregon.

-- The Difficult Sister by Judy Nedry.

With apologies to T. S. Eliot, she's right.  February in the Willamette Valley and on the Oregon coast is dark, cold, grey, and wet.  Weather forecasters usually give up and just predict "winter mix" -- a combination of any two or more of rain, snow, sleet, hail, or freezing fog.  It's a month of black ice, damp fleece, cold fingers, cabin fever, and short tempers.

You can tell that this is an opening sentence that really set the scene for me!

The Difficult Sister is the second book in Nedry's Emma Golden mystery series, following the series debut, An Unholy Alliance. I already love the heroine -- a 50-something wine writer turned amateur sleuth.


Set on the southern Oregon coast, The Difficult Sister follows amateur sleuth Emma and her friend Melody Wyatt as they search for Melody’s missing sister Aurora. Known as “the Bolter”, Aurora has burned her way through a plethora of husbands and lovers. At age 50, freshly reinvented by modern science, the she meets a man on-line and falls in love. She moves with him from Portland to the remote fictional town of Radnor. Within a few weeks, her emails and phone calls cease. Melody becomes further alarmed when her sister’s cell phone is answered by the man, who claims Aurora left him. She and Emma drive to Bandon, Oregon to look for her. In a novel where place emerges as a key character, the two women are swept into the miasma that is the southern Oregon coast—where the “haves” live in homes overlooking the Pacific Ocean on coastal side of Highway 101 and the “have-nots” live in 50-year-old single-wide trailers on the dark side of the highway. It is a place some folks go to cook meth, disappear into poverty, or just disappear.


Judy Nedry earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Oregon and worked for two decades documenting the growth of the Northwest wine industry. She is the author of two nonfiction books about Northwest wine and co-founded Northwest Palate magazine. She lives in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I live in the Pacific Northwest, too, and although we've had a mild winter (so far), I can definitely relate to this book's opening. Sounds like a story I'd enjoy, especially because of the setting.

  2. Hi Gilion,

    February this year, has turned into a repeat of January and December ... 'Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink!' The UK, especially down here in the South, is drowning in the stuff!

    Your first line is reflected beautifully in that dark and atmospheric cover and definitely has me wanting to know more about this brooding place.

    We have had 'foodie' detectives, 'pet detectives', ''knitting detectives'; so now we have a 'wine detective' ... This one sounds intriging, so thanks for the feature.

    Have a great weekend and thanks for hosting,


  3. I like the setting and the idea of a middle aged female sleuth!
    Book Dilettante

  4. I'll take dark and wet. We have cold and wintery. Nice opening. Happy reading!

  5. I live in Los Angeles. It's snowing in NYC but it's 85 here. :\

  6. Feb is pretty cruel in Canada. This year has been absolutely ... CRUEL.

  7. You asked how we picked our books for the Science Fiction Book Club. Every November we turn in books we would like to read or books we have read and loved. In December we each pick 12 books and the top twelve are our picks for the next year.


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