Throughout Private Eye July, the editors of BookPage share some of their favorite mysteries and thrillers.
Y'all may have picked up on the fact that I have a soft spot for the classics, particularly those of a 1950s vintage. So when invited to write about one of my favorite mystery/thriller books, I immediately thought of The Bad Seed by William March. First published in 1954 and promptly nominated for the National Book Award, the book upped the creepy-kid ante with the introduction of Rhoda Penmark, a super-polite, super-perky 8-year-old, around whom people have a tendency to meet their untimely demise by way of seemingly random accidents.
The brilliant narrative structure allows readers to accompany Rhoda's mother, Christine, as she gradually discovers the truth about her child—while also uncovering some dark secrets about her own past. The book's intelligent discussion of the nature vs. nurture debate was ahead of its time, and the ending is both truly shocking and wholly gratifying—not to mention shiver-inducing.
See what else is going on during Private Eye July!