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The Good Silver    by Matthew Dunn order for
Good Silver
by Matthew Dunn
Order:  USA  Can
Onondaga Hill, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Melissa Gibson dies under mysterious circumstances in upstate New York while investigating the alleged rebirth of a utopian commune founded in 1847. Her best friend Jess and twin brother Michael travel to the site of this now defunct commune to find what really happened to Michael's adored sister. The authorities called it an accidental autoerotic asphyxiation death. No way!

The Good Silver skips back and forth between today and the 1800s, twining together the two periods of time in order to complete the story. This venture in communal living eventually became a going concern the Oneida Silver Company. The mansion that was built for its members supported the concept of separation of the sexes except for eugenic mating to produce the best possible babies. Open love was not frowned on, just as long as it did not result in pregnancy. The community was shunned and its leader almost lynched, their beliefs running counter to the way the rest of the country lived. Today, the village doesn't want to talk about its past. The mansion is used as a country inn. Jess and Michael sign in there, posing as man and wife, to determine what they can about Melissa's death.

The Good Silver is Matthew Dunn's fifth book. The plot is intriguing. The mystery Melissa's death ties in with the past, and possible ghosts waft around the hallways of the mansion. Michael is a complex character, plagued by horrible nightmares, which color his everyday life. But somehow I couldn't quite pull Michael together; he kept eluding me. Dunn's similes are wonderful, for example 'his laugh lingered like the smell of my mother's baked bread.' Overall, I liked the book and especially enjoyed its use of the two different time periods.

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