The Transcendental Murder

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Open Road Media, Apr 17, 2012 - Fiction - 286 pages
3 Reviews
In an intellectual hamlet, century-old love letters give rise to murder The citizens of Concord, Massachusetts, never tire of their heritage. For decades, the intellectuals of this little hamlet have continued endless debates about Concord’s favorite sons: Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, and their contemporaries. Concord’s latter-day transcendental scholars are a strange bunch, but none is more peculiar than Homer Kelly, an expert on Emerson and on homicide. An old-fashioned murder is about to put both skills to the test. At a meeting of the town’s intellectuals, Ernest Goss produces a cache of saucy love letters written by the men and women of the transcendentalist sect. Although Homer chortles at the idea that Louisa May Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson might have had a fling, Goss insists the letters are real. He never gets a chance to prove it. Soon after he is found killed by a musket ball. The past may not be dead, but Goss certainly is.

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User Review  - BonnieJune54 - LibraryThing

I loved all the quirky characters and all the history that was added in. There is a great sense of what it was like to be in 1960s Concord Massachusetts. Read full review

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Idealism vs Cold-Blooded Crime
Crime mystery—1st in the Homer Kelly mysteries. This book was written in 1964, and in places sounded a bit dated, but still progressive for the time. Parts of it read
like an old Jimmy Stewart movie, complete with boy scouts and church picnics. Homer is a police detective and also a scholar on American Transcendentalism. Mary is a librarian and a lover of early Concord history. Her romanticized view of Concord clashes with Homer’s cynical, academic approach. But they end up comparing notes in order to solve a mystery: the murder of man who claims to have found scandalous letters from the revered Thoreau, Emerson, and even the reclusive Emily Dickenson. 

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About the author (2012)

Winner of the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award, Jane Langton (b. 1922) is an acclaimed author of mystery novels and children’s literature. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Langton earned degrees in astronomy and art history before she began writing novels, and has set much of her fiction in the tight-knit world of New England academia. She published her first novel, The Majesty of Grace, in 1961, and a year later began one of the young adult series that would make her famous: the Hall Family Chronicles. In The Diamond in the Window (1962) she introduced Edward and Eleanor, two New England children whose home holds magical secrets. Two years later, in The Transcendental Murder, Langton created Homer Kelly, a Harvard University professor who finds himself solving murders. These two series have produced over two dozen books, most recently The Dragon Tree (2008), the eighth Hall Family novel. Langton continues to live, write, and illustrate in Massachusetts.

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