Cover image for Whispers in the dark
Whispers in the dark
Bland, Eleanor Taylor.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2001.
Physical Description:
vii, 244 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A fine rain was falling as Detective Marti MacAlister made her way through the tall grass to the wooded area where the arm had been found. It was cool for early September, and the rain, little more than a mist, felt cold. Marti stared at the hand. The fingers were curled in a beckoning gesture.

Eleanor Taylor Bland's popular African-American heroine, homicide detective Marti MacAlister, and her partner are assigned a most unusual case-all that's left of the unfortunate murder victim is an arm. Their investigation leads them into the exclusive and secretive history of the artistic community in Lincoln Prairie, Illinois.

Meanwhile, Marti's troubled best friend Sharon is slowly getting involved with a man who makes Sharon's friends and family uneasy. When he spirits her away to the Bahamas, then lures her daughter down after them, Marti has no choice but to go to the islands on a dramatic rescue mission.

Another captivating tale of danger and obsession from Eleanor Taylor Bland, Whispers in the Dark will keep fans and new readers alike in gripping suspense.

Author Notes

Eleanor Taylor Bland was born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 31, 1944. She married a sailor when she was fourteen years old. She received a bachelor's degree in accounting and education from Southern Illinois University in 1981. She worked as an accountant at Abbot Laboratories until her retirement in 1999. In the early 1970s, she was diagnosed with Gardner syndrome and fought several bouts with cancer over the years. Her first novel, Dead Time, was published in 1992. She wrote the Marti MacAlister Mystery series. During her career, she received a Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award and a Chester Himes Mystery Fiction Award. She died on June 2, 2010 at the age of 65.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Through nine episodes in Bland's superior series, police detective Marti MacAlister has lost none of the verve, intelligence, street smarts, and humanity that make her one of the most interesting characters in contemporary mystery fiction. This time she and her partner, Matthew Jessenovik, draw an unusual case: following the trail left by a severed arm, which turns up in a vacant lot in Lincoln Prairie, Illinois. When Marti discovers that three other unclaimed dismembered arms have been found in the town over a 20year period, she looks for a connection. The trail leads eventually to an elitist guild that once controlled the local art world. When a potter is murdered and a painter has her house ransacked, Marti knows she's on to something. Meanwhile, Marti worries about her friend Sharon, who is ignoring her own daughter and the need to come to terms with her dying mother. Bland has always drawn connections between childhood abuse and adult crime or failure. Here, exclusion is her theme--and how exclusion from a community of which one should be a part or exclusion from the love one deserves can be just as damaging as any physical abuse. Powerful stuff, indeed. Don't miss it. --Stuart Miller

Publisher's Weekly Review

Don't be put off by the dark, forbidding cover of this latest thriller in Bland's popular Marti MacAlister series, because the story is gripping from the opening sentence through its chilling final scene. African-American detective Marti and partner Matthew Jessenovik investigate a 20-year killing spree where victims' severed hands are found protruding from the ground, "fingers curled in a beckoning gesture." Their quest for the perp runs through Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods, encountering the plagues of urban America today: prostitution, drug addiction, AIDS and, inevitably, murder. A look at the origins of some of these intractable problems takes us back to a '70s hippie commune where one of Chicago society's daughters sought refuge after her mother's suicide. Beyond a simple murder case, the novel becomes an engrossing story of the ever more violent conflicts between society's "insiders and the excluded," and Bland's obvious familiarity with urban issues lends credibility to her riveting style. She deftly interweaves a subplot involving Marti's best friend, who's entangled in a terrifying relationship with a serial killer who lures her, and later her unsuspecting teenage daughter, to the Bahamas just before a hurricane nearly destroys the islands. While much blood is spilled in this despairing tale, it is never graphic or sensational, but rather gives an authentic feeling of life in the urban abyss. The last page shows disturbingly how the cycle of violence will continue unabated. Agent, Ted Chichak. (Nov. 12) Forecast: With no special promotion and bleak subject matter, this quality item could benefit from some aggressive handselling. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved