Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan – Michigan Fiction Free

The Virgin Suicides – Books That Take Place in Michigan

Eugenides, Jeffrey
Farrar, Straus & Giroux 1993

First published in 1993, The Virgin Suicides announced the arrival of a major new American novelist. In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters — beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys — commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family’s fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time. Adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life. Novels set in Michigan. Fiction books set in Michigan.

Author Notes: Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit and attended Brown and Stanford Universities. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published to great acclaim in 1993, and he has received numerous awards for his work. In 2003, Eugenides received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Middlesex, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and France’s Prix Médicis, and has sold more than three million copies.

The Loon Feather – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Fuller, Iola
Harcourt 1940

The story of an Indian girl destined to grow up with the incompatible traditions of her own people and of the white traders on Mackinac Island. A fictionized autobiography of Tecumseh’s daughter. Setting is the Mackinac region in the early 1800’s. Historical fiction set in Michigan. Michigan — Fiction — History — To 1837, Indians of North America — Fiction — Michigan — Mackinac Island (Island), Ojibwa Indians — Fiction, books set in Michigan.

Author notes: Iola Fuller (1906–1993) (later Iola Fuller Goodspeed McCoy), born in Marcellus, MI, was a librarian and writer. Her first novel, The Loon Feather, won the 1939 Hopwood Award from the University of Michigan. During World War II, 150,000 copies of the book were printed as Armed Services Editions; inexpensive paperbacks which the Army and Navy Library Services distributed free of charge to members of the American armed forces.

Curse of the White Panther: A Story of the Days of the Toledo War – Books Set in Michigan

Greene, Merritt
Hillsdale, Mich: 1960

This novel is the second in a 3-book sequence. The first book, The Land Lies Pretty, is available on this web page. In this second volume, Martin Langdon has further adventures in southern Michigan during the period of 1833 to 1835, including a role in the Toledo War. The third book in the series, Forgotten Yesterdays: A Tale of Early Michigan, was not found online. Toledo War, 1835, Hillsdale County (Mich.) — Fiction, Michigan — Fiction — Boundaries — Ohio. Books set in Michigan.

Merritt William Green (1897-1972) was a Toledo, Ohio lawyer who apparently moved to Hillsdale, MI, at some point (retirement?), where he wrote plays and historical novels.

Michigan travel books

The Land Lies Pretty “Op-Jah-Mo-Mak-Ya” – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

A story of the Great Sauk Trail in 1832 with an Introduction to the Northwest Territory

Green, Merritt
Hillsdale School Supply 1959

“This story is laid at the time when the pioneers and Indians were living together in the wilderness of southern Michigan. If, however, the reader wants to enjoy gruesome tales of settlers being murdered and slaughtered by the Indians he will be disappointed; for this book sincerely attempts to depict the conditions as they actually were. Many of the incidents are historically true. The Indian lore and information was obtained from Now-qua-oum, a Potowatomi Indian who now lives near Athens, and whose ancestors roamed the forests of southern Michigan, northern Ohio and Indiana. The Great Sauk Trail was then, as now, the shortest route between Detroit and Chicago. It became the Chicago Turnpike, and is now designated as U.S. Highway 112, named the Pulaski Memorial Highway.” -Author’s Preface. This first novel of a 3-book sequence is set in ‘Grannisville’, which may be Jonesville, MI. Hillsdale County (Mich.) — Fiction, Northwest, Old — Fiction — History, Indian trails — Fiction — Michigan. Books set in Michigan.

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The Tarnished Eye – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Guest, Judith
Scribner 2004

From the New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary People comes a gripping novel of suspense, exploring fragile family dynamics in the aftermath of tragedy… The Tarnished Eye takes readers to the community of Blessed, in northern Michigan, where Sheriff Hugh DeWitt still grieves for his infant son, who died of SIDS a few years earlier. Obsessed with the past, he’s endangering his future with his beloved wife and daughter.
Meanwhile, up the road from the DeWitts, in one of the rich summer cottages, Paige Norbois grieves for a lost love of her own. Married to a stern and unresponsive man, Paige wills herself to stay in the marriage and sacrifice her personal feelings for the sake of her children’s stability. But soon an unimaginable tragedy destroys all dreams of stability in Blessed. Paige, her husband, Edward, and their four children are brutally slaughtered in their home. Sheriff DeWitt, deeply moved by the horrific murder scene, must find answers to a string of urgent questions. Books set in Michigan.

Author Notes: “Judith Guest was born in Detroit in 1936. She earned a degree in Education from the University of Michigan. She has been a schoolteacher in Detroit. With no formal training in fiction writing, novelist Judith Guest began to write fiction and poetry when her youngest son started school. Her highly acclaimed first novel, Ordinary People, was published in 1976 and has since been published in 13 languages. It was made into a film, directed by Robert Redford, which received the Academy Award for best picture in 1980. Guest’s subsequent works include Second Heaven (1982), Killing Time in St. Cloud (1988), Errands (1997) and The Tarnished Eye (2004).” -Bowker author biography

Winter of the Wolf Moon – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Hamilton, Steve
St. Martin’s Paperbacks 2001

“Ex-cop and sometime P.I. Alex McKnight endures the bitter Michigan winter in his log cabin. When a young Ojibwa woman asks for shelter from her abusive boyfriend, McKnight agrees. She disappears the next morning, and McKnight suspects her boyfriend of abducting her. But his search brings on more suspects and a thickening web of crime from the secret world of the Ojibwa reservation.” – Cover. Fiction / Thrillers / General, Private investigators — Fiction — Michigan — Upper Peninsula, McKnight, Alex (Fictitious character) — Fiction, Upper Peninsula (Mich.) Books set in Michigan.

Author: Steve Hamilton was born and raised in Detroit, and graduated from the University of Michigan. In 2006, he won the Michigan Author Award for his outstanding body of work. His novels have won numerous awards and media acclaim beginning with the very first in the Alex McKnight series, A Cold Day in Paradise.

Trumpet in the Wilderness – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Harper, Robert S.
NY: Mill 1940

“Two dramatic engagements in the War of 1812 – Colonel Cass’s Detroit campaign and Perry’s victory on Lake Erie – are re-created with an excellent balance between romance and research.” Books set in Michigan.

Robert S. Harper was an Ohio author and historian with expertise in the Civil War.

Farmer – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Harrison, Jim
Viking 1976

In Farmer, Jim Harrison tells the story of Joseph, a forty-three-year-old farmer-schoolteacher who suddenly finds himself at a crossroads. Forced to choose between two lovers—one a tantalizing young student, the other his beautiful childhood friend—he must also decide whether or not to stay on the farm or finally seek the wider, more worldly horizons he has avoided all his life. Farmer is a wondrous blend of insight, storytelling, and the author’s uncanny ability to evoke the mysteries and beauties of the natural world. Books set in Michigan.

Author Notes: James Thomas Harrison (1937-2016) was born in Grayling, Michigan. After a B.A. and M.A. in comparative literature from Michigan State University in 1960 and 1964, he briefly taught English at SUNY- Stony Brook. During his lifetime, he wrote 14 collections of poetry, 21 volumes of fiction, two books of essays, a memoir, and a children’s book. His novel, Legends of the Fall, was adapted into a feature film starring Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt. Harrison also wrote the screenplay for the movie. – Bowker author bio

Hubbard’s Trail – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Holt, Alfred Hubbard
Chicago: Erle Press 1952

Fictionalized biography of Gurdon Hubbard, fur-trader and pioneer merchant. Partially set in Fort Mackinac and in the Muskegon River area.* Books set in Michigan.

See also: Hubbard, Gurdon S., The Autobiography of Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard, Pa-pa-ma-ta-be, “The Swift Walker” in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History

Murder Makes the Wheels Go ‘Round – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Lathen, Emma
MacMillan 1966

When John Putnam Thatcher, “a New York banker, goes to Detroit to weigh the possibilities of underwriting Michigan Motors’ new stock issue, he finds that Jensen, who has just finished a jail term for price-fixing, is demanding reinstatement and making threats to the man who betrayed him. But it is Jensen who is murdered.” Buyer’s Guide
It is “witty, literate, complicated.” Library J. Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General, Wall Street (New York, N.Y.) — Fiction, Thatcher, John Putnam (Fictitious character) — Fiction.

Author Note: For more than a decade after Emma Lathen’s first novel, ‘Banking on Death’, in 1961, her readers wondered who was this mysterious woman who was so well-versed in investment banking and business operations. The truth came out in the 1970s; Emma Lathen was not a woman – she was two women. Mary Jane Latsis and Martha Henissart met at Harvard in 1952 when both were in their thirties and working on postgrad degrees. They shared a love of fiction and kept in touch and, years later, began collaborating on novels while pursuing their separate careers in different places. Books set in Michigan.

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Pagan Babies – Humorous Books Set in Michigan

Leonard, Elmore
Delacorte 2000

“Father Terry Dunn, an American priest working in Rwanda, is forced to return to the United States after exacting penance from a group of local Hutu murderers. Upon returning to Detroit, ostensibly to raise money for African orphans, he becomes involved with Debbie, a recently released ex-convict hoping to strike it rich as a stand-up comedian. A plan for both Terry and Debbie to attain the riches they desire soon gives way to a mix of deceit and false loyalties.” Libr J
This “is one of Mr. Leonard’s funniest books, with a typically colourful cast of oddballs. The dialogue. too, is snappy. .
Mr. Leonard steers the reader effortlessly’ through a maze of plots and counterplots, then brings the whole thing in with a bravura flourish and stops on a dime.” -Economist. Fiction / Thrillers / Crime, Americans — Fiction — Rwanda, Detroit (Mich.) — Fiction. Books set in Michigan.

Author notes: Elmore John Leonard Jr. (1825-2013) was a very successful novelist, short story writer and screenwriter. His earliest novels, published in the 1950s, were Westerns, but he went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, many of which have been adapted into motion pictures. His family settled in Detroit in 1934, and he graduated from high school there. After WWII service with the Navy Seabees he earned a B.A. in English at University of Detroit. He went on to work as a copy writer for an advertising agency for several years, until he could support himself with his writing. – Wikipedia

Gabriel’s Search – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Lutes, Della T.
Boston: Little, Brown 1940

“The tang and gusto of frontier living in the 1830’s is highlighted in this story of a newcomer’s adjustment to a community near Jackson.”
“A novel of pioneer life in Michigan in the early 1800’s. The story of the agnostic, Gabe Reed, and how he was looked upon by his God-fearing neighbors is full of the realistic details of the daily life of the period.” Books set in Michigan.

Author notes: Della T. Lutes (1867-1942) was raised on a farm near Jackson, MI. She became a teacher at 16 when she finished high school, working first in Jackson and then in Detroit. She married and remained in Detroit until about 1907, publishing her first book in 1906. She then moved to Cooperstown, NY to join the staff of the magazine ‘American Motherhood’. She remained in Cooperstown for the rest of her life, writing short stories and editing women’s magazines. She won a National Book Award in 1936 for her book ‘Country Kitchens’.

Mackinac Passage: A Summer Adventure – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Lytle, Robert A.
Thunder Bay 1995

When the Jenkins family arrives at their Straits of Mackinac summer cottage, 15-year-old Pete Jenkins, meets and befriends three other teens. But before long, in a summer already filled with fishing, learning to sail, and making new friends, the four teens stumble across evidence of a counterfeit money scheme, which they suspect is run by a recluse writer named Harold Geetings. Their investigation leads them to nearby Mackinac Island on which they discover an extensive Underworld operation, and where their curiosity endangers their lives when they witness the murder of one of the gang! Pete and his friends find the adventure of a lifetime in this exciting, suspenseful story for young adults set in beautiful islands of Les Cheneaux and on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan. Mackinac Island (Mich.) Books set in Michigan.

Dewey Defeats Truman – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

Mallon, Thomas
Pantheon 1997

“Owosso, Michigan, was Dewey’s birthplace, and in the summer and fall of 1948 the townspeople are basking in the national attention that brushes the town. Anne Macmurray, a bookstore clerk and aspiring novelist, is being courted by two men, one a U.A.W. organizer, the other a smug Republican lawyer running for state senator. That romantic rivalry is shaped not only by the political passions of 1948 but also by the skeletons buried (and in one case unburied) in the pasts of other Owossoans. This work is so tightly constructed that it sometimes feels contrived, but Mallon’s gift for the telling detail, whether of place or of character, quickly banishes such reservations.” New Yorker. Books set in Michigan.

Author: Thomas Mallon, author of “In Fact”, is a frequent contributor to many magazines & journals. His column, “Doubting Thomas” ran for six years in GQ. His novels Dewey Defeats Truman & Henry & Clara were New York Times Notable Books. A recipient of Guggenheim & Rockefeller fellowships, he lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Blue Collar Blues – Mystery Novels Set in Upper Michigan

McMillan, Rosalyn
Warner 1998

“Thyme Tyler is an African American plant manager for Champion Motors (a hybrid of Ford, GM and Chrysler) who has hit the glass ceiling even though she holds a Ph.D. Khan Davis is a handsomely paid factory worker who faces the threat of layoff and daily struggles for overtime in the plant. The two women maintain a friendship despite their class differences and despite Khan’s refusal to forgive Thyme’s marriage to a sterotypically lily-white Champion exec.” Publ Wkly. Books set in Michigan.

Author notes: Rosalyn McMillan (1953-2017) was raised in Port Huron, MI, and is the sister of novelist Terry McMillan. The family struggled to make ends meet when Rosalyn was a child. When she finished high school she went to work for Ford Motor Co., remaining there 20 years. She worked on her writing in her spare time, and her first novel was published in 1996.

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Them – – Historical Fiction Set in Detroit

Oates, Joyce Carol
Vanguard 1969

As powerful and relevant today as it was on its initial publication, them chronicles the tumultuous lives of a family living on the edge of ruin in the Detroit slums, from the 1930s to the 1967 race riots. Praised by The Nation for her “potent, life-gripping imagination,” Joyce Carol Oates traces the aspirations and struggles of Loretta Wendall, a dreamy young mother who is filled with regret by the age of sixteen, and the subsequent destinies of her children, Maureen and Jules, who must fight to survive in a world of violence and danger.
Winner of the National Book Award, Them is an enthralling novel about love, class, race, and the inhumanity of urban life. It is, raves The New York Times, “a superbly accomplished vision.” Books set in Michigan.

Author notes: Joyce Carol Oates was born in 1938 and grew up in Millersport, NY, a farming community. She went to Syracuse University on scholarship, where she trained herself by writing novel after novel, throwing each away when she finished. She was valedictorian of her graduating class in 1960, and then earned an M.A. at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Oates was teaching at the Univ. of Detroit when she published her first novel in 1964. She later had a faculty position across the river in Windsor, Canada, and in 1978 accepted a position at Princeton, where she stayed until retirement. Over the years she has received many awards and prizes for her books.

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The Citadel of the Lakes – Mackinac Island Historical Fiction

Orr, Myron David
Dodd 1952

“The reader relives the turbulent and hazardous days when England and the United States contended for the prize of Mackinac Island and the control of the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. Myron David Orr has taken as his central point, the fur trader, John Jacob Astor, who, because of his insatiable lust for money, betrays his country and eliminates all those traders who defy him in his conquest of the Northwest Territory fur trade. The sinister influence of Astor dominates and encompasses the lives of all the people of this pioneer outpost, causing disastrous results to the armed forces of the United States, as well as personal tragedies to the families themselves. Out of a lifetime spent on the scene, and 25 years of research gathering original letters and military reports, Mr. Orr has presented an authentic picture of intrigue, love, violence, and hate.” -Publisher. Books set in Michigan.

Mission to Mackinac – Mackinac Island Historical Fiction Book

Orr, Myron David
Dodd 1956

Story of English-French conflict in the area of Mackinac Island prior to the War of 1812. Books set in Michigan.

Author notes: Dr. Myron David Orr (1831-1891) was raised and educated in Genesee County, NY, being trained as a medical doctor. In 1854 he moved to Michigan and joined a medical practice in Flint. In 1864 he moved his family to a farm in Almer (thumb area), and raised fruit. He also served in a number of local government positions, including school inspector, justice of the peace, and probate judge. He published at least five novels in the genre of Michigan historical fiction.

North of Saginaw Bay

Petersen, E. J. (Pete)
Sand Lake, MI: Tall Timber 1952

“In North of Saginaw Bay, E. J. (Pete) Petersen, himself an old-time lumberman and timber-cruiser, retells and relives for the reader those days when Michigan’s now famous resort and vacationland resounded to the ring of the lumberman’s axe and the crash of falling timber. In this story of young Clay Woods and his desperate uphill battle for justice, the reader will form an intimate acquaintance with the rugged pioneers, their friends among the Indians, like Chief Green-sky, and the many other characters who made frontier life colorful, such as the gnarled little preacher who become one of the heroes of the tale.” -Book jacket. Books set in Michigan.

The White Squaw; A Sequel to “North of Saginaw Bay”

Petersen, E. J. (Pete)
Sand Lake, MI: Tall Timber 1954

See the entry above. Books set in Michigan.

Once a Wilderness – Books Set in Michigan

Pound, Arthur
NY: Reynal & Hitchcock 1937

“The changing background of our state [Michigan] from agriculture to industry is exemplified in this story of the Mark family, pioneer farmers in the vicinity of Pontiac.”
“This engaging family chronicle, opening in 1890, has for its background Mark section the 640 acre Michigan farm owned by Captain John Mark, on which he and all of his children and their families still lived. Farm activities, especially cattle breeding, make a vivid background, but the lively story is about the Marks themselves, especially the lusty and vigorous patriarch, Captain John.”- Bkl. Books set in Michigan.

Author notes: Arthur Pound (1884-1966) was born in Pontiac, MI and made his living mainly as an editor and editorial writer at newspapers for many years. In 1935 he was made a research professor of American History at the Univ. of Pittsburgh, and from 1940 to 1944 he was the State Historian and Director of Archives and History in New York. He published at least ten historical books, including a couple of industrial histories, and corporate histories of General Motors and General Electric.

The Adventures of Captain McCargo – Books Set in Michigan

Ratigan, William
NY: Random House 1956

“Dashing Great Lakes Captain matches wits with danger from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula.” Great Lakes (North America) — Books set in Michigan.

Author notes: William Ratigan (1910-1984) grew up in Detroit. In college he was an all-Dixie quarterback at the University of Chattanooga, and then became a respected radio journalist, holding important positions at NBC during WWII. After the war be brought his family back to Michigan, buying a home in Charlevoix, MI, where he operated a tiny used bookstore in a converted fishing shanty and wrote books. His most popular book was ‘Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals’. -Charlevoix Courier

A Land I Will Show Thee – Books Set in Michigan

Schoolland, Marian M.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1954

“The Founding of Holland, Michigan, by a small group of Dutch immigrants seeking a religious refuge.” Dutch Americans — Fiction — Michigan — Holland, Holland (Mich.) — Fiction.

Author notes: Marian M. Schoolland (1902-1984) was the daughter of a Dutch immigrant professor at the minister-training institution that became Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, MI. She was a 1934 graduate of Calvin College, going on to a teaching career in elementary school while also translating, editing, and writing articles and books. Most of her books were for children, and of those, her best known were devotional. -Banner of Truth website.

The Original

Smith, Larry
Herder & Herder 1972

Picture of the grim, unremitting labor that was the reality of farm life at the turn of the century. Books set in Michigan.

Larry Smith was a newspaper and magazine editor with the New York Times and Parade magazine, where he was managing editor for nineteen years. Former president of the Overseas Press Club of America, he lives in Norwalk, Connecticut. The U.S. Marine Corps presented him with the Esprit de Corps Award for his work with veterans and active duty service personnel.

F.O.B. Detroit – Novels Set in Michigan

Smitter, Wessel
Harper 1938

“Bennie, who accepts his work in the Holt automobile plant uncritically, asking nothing better of life than to become a ‘straw boss’, tells in his own vernacular the story of his friend Russ, a former lumberjack, whose restlessness and longing for independence make it impossible for him to adjust himself to the stultifying regimentation of the factory’s assembly line. A compact, dramatic novel which is also an indictment of the modern industrial system.” – N.Y. libraries. Automobile industry and trade — Fiction — Michigan — Detroit, Detroit (Mich.) — Fiction, Automobile factories — Fiction.

Author notes: Wessel Smitter (1892-1951) was born to Dutch immigrants in Plainfield, MI. He graduated from U of M in 1922 and worked in advertising for one of the Detroit auto makers. He detested the “industrial machine” way of life and abruptly left for Hollywood, where he finished his novel ‘F.O.B. Detroit’. A New York Times review compared him to John Steinbeck, and the book was made into a movie, ‘Reaching for the Sun’, in 1941. – IMDb website

The Long Winter Ends – Books set in Michigan Upper Peninsula

Thomas, Newton G.
NY: Macmillan 1941

Tells the story of a year in the life of a young emigrant miner who leaves Cornwall in the southwest of England to work in the copper mines of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Through Jim’s story, The Long Winter Ends offers a glimpse into the lives of an often neglected emigrant group that played an important role in the development of the Great Lake and American mining industries since the 1840s. Drawing on his own experiences as a young Cornish immigrant in the mining communities of the Upper Peninsula, Thomas incorporated firsthand knowledge of the work routines and vocabulary of underground mining into this novel. This narrative traces the Cornish emigrant experience from the failure of the mines in Cornwall, their hopes to preserve Cornish traditions in America, and then finally the acceptance of a future in America. British Americans — History — Fiction — Michigan — Upper Peninsula, Cornish Americans — History — Fiction — Michigan — Upper Peninsula, Cornish — Fiction — Michigan — Keweenaw Peninsula, Copper mines and mining — Fiction — Michigan — Keweenaw Peninsula.

What End But Love – Books That Take Place in Michigan

Webber, Gordon
Little 1959

Memories of farm life and industrial growth set in the framework of a family reunion on a Michigan farm near the automobile factories in 1934. Automobile industry and trade — Fiction — Michigan — Flint, Flint (Mich.) — Fiction.

Author notes: Gordon Webber (1912-1986) was raised in Linden, MI and graduated from college in Jamestown, ND in 1934. He then earned an M.A. in journalism at Univ. of Michigan, and was working as a writer for NBC before the war. In WWII he served in the Navy as a gunnery officer, receiving a Navy commendation at the Normandy invasion. He went on to write short stories, film scripts, and four novels during a post-war career at an advertising agency. In 1952 he was the founding president of the Classic Car Club of America.

Indian Affairs – Fiction about Michigan

Woiwode, Larry
Atheneum 1992

Sequel to ‘What I’m Going to Do, I Think’. This novel set in Michigan is, “in part, an anatomy of a marriage strained by the death of a baby and racial differences: Chris is a native American and Ellen a white Christian Scientist. They have returned to their home turf to stay in Ellen’s grandparents’ cabin so Chris can work on his dissertation about the Michigan poet Roethke in peace and quiet, but they get very little of either. . . Both Chris and Ellen fall into depression. Chris is suffering an identity crisis over the conflict between his native American heritage and his academic pursuits, while Ellen decides to write about her grief over being childless.” -Booklist
“Indian Affairs’ is an intelligent, psychologically harrowing book.” N Y Times Book Rev. Michigan–Fiction, Indians of North America–Michigan–Fiction.

Author notes: Larry Woiwode was born in Carrington, North Dakota on October 30, 1941. He went to the University of Illinois, but did not graduate. His short stories and poetry appeared in several magazines including Harper’s, Partisan Review, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. His first novel, What I’m Going to Do, I Think, was published in 1969. His other novels included Beyond the Bedroom Wall: A Family Album, Poppa John, Born Brothers, and Indian Affairs. He also wrote a collection of poems entitled Even Tide. He was named North Dakota Poet Laureate in 1995. -Bowker author biography

Whistlestop – Fiction Books Set in Michigan

Wolff, Maritta M.
Random House 1941

Maritta Wolff’s 1941 masterpiece about small-town Midwestern life in post-Depression America.
Whistle Stop, published to rave reviews and astonishing commercial success, is the story of the Veech family, an oversize, poverty-stricken tribe trying to make good in a cruel world. Through the course of a punishingly hot summer, we experience life with the six children and three adult Veeches as they bicker, brawl, make up, and provide titillating morsels of scandal for the neighborhood. A work of darkly comic grotesque, replete with shades of Flannery O’Connor, Whistle Stop is also a wrenching and earnest rumination on the tragedy of thwarted love. Middle West — Fiction, Depressions — Fiction, Criminals — Fiction, City and town life — Fiction.

Author notes: Maritta Martin Wolff (1918-2002) was born at Grass Lake, MI, growing up on her grandparents’ farm and attending a one-room school. She attended Univ. of Michigan, and wrote her first novel, ‘Whistlestop’, for a writing class in her senior year. Despite vulgar dialogue and themes of incest and violence it won a university prize. When it was published in 1941 it was a best-seller and was praised by author Sinclair Lewis as the most important novel of the year. It was later adapted as a 1946 movie. Her second novel, Night Shift (1942) was also highly praised, and became the 1946 film ‘The Man I Love’. She wrote a total of 7 novels, the last one completed in 1972 but not published until after her death.

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