Turn of Mind by Alice Laplante is about a former surgeon who has Alzheimer’s. She might not remember that her husband has died or what she had for lunch, but Dr. Jennifer White has not forgotten her skills as a hand surgeon. She becomes a suspect when her busybody best friend, Amanda, is found murdered with four of her fingers surgically amputated. Did she do it? She cannot remember.
Suspenseful, the novel builds through her fractured memories a story of secrets and clues that all is not as it seems. Events seem to trigger flashbacks of the past and her friendship with Amanda and their husbands. One revealing memory demonstrates the extent of her friend’s treachery all done in the name of being a friend who honors truth above all else.
“Alzheimer’s is bleak territory, and to saddle Jennifer with suspected murder seems cruel and unusual punishment. But in LaPlante’s vivid prose, her waning mind proves a prism instead of a prison, her memory refracted to rich, sensual effect” ( NY Times Book Review, Slutsky, 7/15/11). I thought the author did a excellent job conveying the feeling of loss and confusion when in a state of dementia. The doctor’s strategy of keeping a notebook which she and others write down the conversations, events in her daily life is brilliant but leaves you wondering – what is real? A great read….