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Emily Arsenault Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Broken Teaglass (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
In Search of the Rose Notes (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Miss Me When I'm Gone (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
What Strange Creatures (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Evening Spider (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Leaf Reader (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Last Thing I Told You (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
All the Pretty Things (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
When All the Girls Are Sleeping (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Emily Arsenault is an American bestselling mystery and thriller author from Shelburne Falls. She went to Mount Holyoke College where she studied religion and philosophy. Once she was done with college, she got a job at Merriam Webster where she worked in the editorial department for several years. It was from her work with Merriam Webster that she drew the inspiration for “The Broken Teaglass” her debut novel. While she loved working at Merriam Webster, she wanted to do something exciting and different. Given that lexicography tends to be very solitary, she needed to find something that involved contact with other people. She therefore got a job teaching adult literacy which she did for two years. She also toured with the Peace Corps In South Africa alongside her husband for two years.

Emily does not remember the first time she thought she was an author but has always loved writing since she was about ten years old. She read anything from the classics such as “The Hundred Dresses and James” and “The Giant Peach” to trashy novels about junior high students backstabbing each other at school dances and learning how to apply makeup. Her favorite author by far was Lois Lowry though she also asserts that no single author influenced her writing style even though they all got her interested in the art of storytelling. Still, she was interested in dialogue and always thought that she could do better than the authors whose books she read. Arsenault always felt that no author wrote dialogue in the way that her family or her friends spoke and hence a lot of her novels are dialogue-heavy. As a novelist whose novels have something of suspense though they do not fit the classic description of conventional mysteries, she believes that what she writes is literary suspense. It was while Arsenault was in South Africa that she penned her first novel. She started looking for an agent when she came back to the states but the novel was never published. Emily then wrote the manuscript for “The Broken Teaglass” and just had a feeling that this time she was going to make it work and so she kept sending out pitches and revising despite the mounting rejections.

The first inspiration for “The Broken Teaglass” came to her when she had a particularly long day at work. Emily was then a bored twenty-year-old working in the boring lexicography department at Merriam Webster. She was flipping through some ancient citations and hoping for a mysterious citation or mysterious note in the files that she thought would make for a great story. In the moment, it was just a notion but then she started playing with it and finally wrote the manuscript. It took her eight months to find an agent though she often took a break from submission and querying to revise her manuscript. A crushing rejection almost made her quit as she stopped querying for a few months believing her manuscript had a fundamental flaw. But soon after, she got a call from an agent who had sat on the manuscript for several months that said that she was interested in representing her. Within a week of her agreeing to being represented by Laura Langlie, her manuscript got some interest and there was a bidding war. “The Broken Teaglass” was published in 2009 and Arsenault has never looked back since.

Emily Arsenault’s debut “The Broken Teaglass” is a compelling story of two lexicographers of an esteemed dictionary company that discover clues to an unresolved homicide. The clues have been deliberately hidden in the citation files of the dictionary they were working on. One of the employees is a philosophy degree graduate that had only recently started working at the company. His colleague is Mona Minot, a veteran who had pointed out the citations while they were working on the files. The strange citations come from The Broken Teaglass, a book from 1985 with a bogus ISBN number and a nonexistent author. The citations describe the murder of a man whose body had been discovered at the local park his throat slashed. It also chronicles what happens afterward including the police search for clues of which only a broken shard that was believed to be the murder weapon was found. Their curiosity is now aroused and Mona systematically searches all the files to find every mention of Broken Teaglass. They start meeting after work to compare the results of their investigations. The more citations they find the more they begin to create a fuller picture of the happenings at the murder scene. What they unearth is an earthshattering revelation about their company.

“In Search of the Rose Notes” is a brilliant suspenseful mystery that alternates between the present and the past. It is the story of Nora and Charlotte who are second-grade learners that are left under the charge of Rose a sixteen-year-old. Rose has to take care of them after school before their parents come to pick them up. The two friends’ favorite is the “Time-Life Book” series that has elements of the paranormal. They spend most of their afternoons trying to make their own runes or trying to interpret dreams or tell their own fortunes. When Rose drops off Nora at her house one evening and heads back home, it seems like a routine thing but no one ever sees the teen again. Nearly two decades later, her bones are found in a wicker basket beside a pond. Nora returns to her hometown and goes to see her best friend Charlotte anxious to found out what had happened to their babysitter. There is a ghost nuance in the story that added to the spooky atmosphere of the mystery.

Emily Arsenault’s “Miss Me When I’m Gone” is the story of Gretchen Waters an author who had written a popular memoir about her admiration for Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Tammy Wynette who are some of the biggest country music icons. She also wrote about her her divorce. The novel had received critical acclaim only for the author to die shortly thereafter. She fell down a staircase in the library cutting her career short as she ends up dead from her injuries. It is a tragedy but no one suspects that there is any foul play. Even her best friend that had known her since college and has been named literary executor thinks the police report should be taken at face value. In her things is found a manuscript yet unfinished which is darker than the novel she wrote about country musicians and had as its core element a homicide in Gretchen’s family. In the novel, Gretchen seems to tell her best friend Jamie that there was foul play in her death. Jamie now has to piece the few pieces of the story that Gretchen’s enemies would kill to ensure remains hidden.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Emily Arsenault

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