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Love Danger at Kimball School

Love, danger, Kimball School


Romance. Murder. Mystery.

At the Kimball School?

Well, not exactly, unless you have Nora LeDuc's active imagination.

In LeDuc's eighth and newest book, Pick Up Lines for Murder, the lifeless body of paraprofessional Joan Griffin is found slumped over the Ash Street School's copier machine. The novel's heroine, Jozy Landis, finds her dead coworker and becomes prime suspect numero uno. Luckily for Jozy, the handsome, Mustang-driving Cooper Montgomery - a reporter for the Queen City Expose - takes an interest in her. However, does Cooper have the hots for Jozy or does he just want her story?

Wanting to know the answer to that question, plus others, makes this novel a page-turner. Like, if Jozy didn't kill Joan, who did? And how the heck can Cooper afford a Mustang on a reporter's salary?

Okay, maybe we were the only ones wondering that last question. Seriously, if Cooper were real, we'd be asking him for tips.

Even if you're not a fan of the mystery/romance genre, Concordians may enjoy that LeDuc modeled the book's elementary school after Concord's very own Kimball School. LeDuc worked at the school for 21 years as a special education teacher. Nowadays, LeDuc has a part-time role as a special education consultant for the school district's private schools. But the Kimball School clearly made a lasting impression. In fact, The book's victim, Joan Griffin, shares her name with Kimball School's librarian, and the principal at the fictional school is named after Kent Hemingway. Hemingway, now the superintendent for the Rochester district, was the principal of Kimball when LeDuc worked there.

LeDuc insists, however, that her characters only share their names with her former coworkers. You can rest assured that the real Joan Griffin is alive and well and that both Griffin and Hemingway are delighted to be part of Pick Up Lines for Murder. In LeDuc's world, imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery.

In addition to the homage given to LeDuc's past place of employment, Pick Up Lines for Murder is flooded with references to the Granite State. Taking place in Manchester, LeDuc uses actual street names and surroundings to set the scene. Readers will feel like they're in on a personal joke with LeDuc when they pick up on certain New Hampshire-inspired remarks. We certainly could commiserate with Cooper when his rival paper - the United Leader - scoops his story.

LeDuc said she has used New Hampshire in all of her books, besides two historical romances. "Need mountains? We have them. . . . Need the lakes? We have a beautiful lakes region. . . . Need a rocky ocean cliff to push off a victim? Head to Hampton or Rye."

"Our cities have beautiful architecture - as you know if you have the luxury of walking around Concord on your lunch hour - that hide a lot of stories," she added. "A friend of mine who lives in Concord and works at Kimball still has remains of the underground railroad at her house. What stories are in those walls? Mix this with a little imagination and you have the perfect setting."

Comments (1)
1 Saturday, 02 October 2010 00:41
Just finished the book!

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