As Simple as Snow, by Gregory Galloway
There are mysteries where you actually find out who did it. And then there are mysteries that send you off on a wild goose chase for the code that Houdini set up with his wife so that she could correctly identify his spirit in a séance. This is the second kind of book.
“Anna Cayne had moved here in August, just before our sophomore year in high school, but by February she had, one by one, killed everyone in town. She didn’t do it all by herself—I helped with a few, including my best friend—but still, it was no small accomplishment, even if it was a small town.”
Anna Cayne is a hip goth girl with an encyclopedic appreciation of literature and music. Her hobby is writing obituaries for people who are not dead yet. She and the narrator, never named, bond over Kerouac and carry on an intense flirtation via cryptic postcards, found objects, and mix CDs. And then she disappears. The police find one of her dresses neatly laid out next to a hole in the ice of a nearby river. Is she a murder victim? A suicide? A runaway with a sense of theatrics?
This is one smart, creepy mystery. It works if you just read it straight through, but if you chase down the references to artists and folks with tragic or mysterious ends, the story takes on as many angles as a hall of mirrors. I still don’t know what happened to Anna Cayne, but I have my theories, and so do other Galloway fans who have dogeared suspicious paragraphs, Googled clues, and even explored the lyrics of the songs mentioned for more evidence. Like the TV show Lost, there’s something in this open-ended story to support just about any theory you can throw at it.
As Simple as Snow also won an Alex award, which is given to books that have strong appeal to adults and teenagers alike.
Check the WRL catalog for As Simple as Snow