Frog Music: A Novel
by Emma Donoghue
Little, Brown and Company
416 pages, $27.
IT CAN BE SOBERING to think that throughout history millions of life stories have been lost to time. Every small bit of every insignificant life is gone—unless the deceased is fortunate enough to have Emma Donoghue get ahold of it.
In the case of Frog Music, Donoghue’s first historical crime novel, the life in question is that of Jenny Bonnet, a hard-bitten gal who lived in San Francisco in the 1870s, dressed in men’s clothing, and caught frogs for a living. Then, one day, while hanging out in a tavern, she was brutally murdered under circumstances that were mysterious and sensational at the time. Terri Schlichenmeyer, a freelance writer based in Wisconsin, writes a self-syndicated e-column called “The Bookworm Sez.”