The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer

By Norma Fox Mazer

He might be any guy, any decent, usual guy. yet he is not. This guy watches the 5 Herbert girls—Beauty, Mim, Stevie, Fancy, and Autumn—with tense fascination. ignorant of his scrutiny and his more and more agitated and forbidden suggestions approximately them, the sisters move on with their traditional daily lives—planning, arguing, giggling, and crying—as if not anything undesirable may ever breach the security in their kin. In alternating issues of view, Norma Fox Mazer manages to interweave the lives of predator and prey during this unforgettable mental mystery.

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The cats watch. Sometimes he’s lonely, but the cats make it better. He likes the way they watch him, listen to him, and he likes the way he talks to them, like a regular person, like anyone else. The thought passes through his mind that he’s a good man. He wishes that someone else knew how he feeds the cats before himself. He would like to hear someone tell him that he’s a good man, a good person. He opens the can of food. The cats follow his every move. They are quiet, concentrated. They aren’t shedders or talkers.

Was that why last year, secretly and alone, she had taken herself to the tattoo 39 parlor on Locust Street, in a crummy part of town, and why now, on her right thigh, a giant green butterfly (really a moth named Luna) fluttered over a brilliant blue daisylike flower? “Not very biologically sound,” the tattoo artist had said, holding his needle suspended over her bare thigh. ” “I’m sure,” she had said, and closed her eyes, so she wouldn’t have to see the needle. 40 HER HAIR THE MAN ALWAYS looked at people’s hair.

Beauty had Googled her on the computer in the library, and she dreamed that someday she’d meet Linda Pastan—not in Mallory, that was for sure—maybe in Chicago, or New York City, which she planned to visit. She imagined her as very kind with long, beautiful gray hair. They would be at some sort of party, 36 and they’d be holding glasses of, yes, wine, and they’d talk. Beauty: I love your postcard poem, and I know it by heart. Linda Pastan: Really? Beauty: Yes. I think it’s beautiful. It always makes me happy to think about it.

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