Nina de Gramont's debut novel, "The Last September," is a triumph. I could not put it down. She manages to weave together a murder mystery that contains threads of Emily Dickinson's poetry, an examination of what it means to live with a schizophrenic in the family, and the vicissitudes of a less than perfect marriage.
Brett and Charlie are married and living near the home of Emily Dickinson in Western Massachusetts. Charlie's brother, Eli, has devolved from being a promising pre-med student to being a chronic schizophrenic living from one enforced hospitalization to another. Brett's world falls apart when Charlie is murdered while visiting the family home on Cape Cod, and it looks as if his brother may have been the murderer. Ms. de Gamony has created memorable and sometimes quirky characters who grab the reader's attention and sympathy. This is a promising beginning to what I hope will be a long literary career for this gifted author.