Category Archives: Moore


Laura S. & William L. B. Wharton. The Mermaid’s Tale. Mt. Airy, NC: Broad Creek Press, 2014.

themermaid'stale“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit” ~ Helen Keller

Jock Avery is back, along with his new friends Lynna and Chip Woodward. During their first summer together, the trio solved the mystery of Monsters Below Longleaf Lake in Moore County, North Carolina. Now there is a new mystery to discover. Seven-year old Chip, from his dock, has spotted a mermaid in the lake while Lynna and Jock are having a sailboat race. Lynna’s boat almost hit her! Although he suspects that they will never believe him, Chip still can’t help but to tell his friends what he’s seen. Jock quickly expresses his disbelief but is silenced by Lynna who defends her brother. This calls for an investigation!

The trio decide to search the lake using a grid pattern just like underwater archeologists. They draw out a grid in order to mark every spot they search and what they find there. The mermaid quest brings up some problems like their inability to dive but so deep. Soon, there is a discussion of deep sea divers and scuba tanks. Lynna and Jock have a contest to see who can hold their breath the longest underwater while Lynna and Chip’s mom times the two. Lynna wins! This leads Jock to want to join the swim team in order to improve his underwater breathing.

The search for the mermaid continues full force when Jock catches a glimpse of her at night–he no longer doubts Chip’s claim. However, will the grownups ever believe? Will the trio be able to find the mermaid in the lake? Jock turns to his favorite adventurer, Sam Justice, and his underwater adventures for inspiration on how to look for the mermaid. While the kids have a mission, the adults are planning an adventure of their own. The parents have been invited to a grand opening event and everyone is going. What surprise could be waiting for Jock, Chip, and Lynna at the event?

Co-authored by novelist Laura S. Wharton and her son William, The Mermaid’s Tale is the second book in the Mystery at the Lake House Series. This chapter book is intended for children aged 9-12; it includes lots of information on swimming, diving, fishing, and the importance of taking care of our water environments. Also included are instructions on how to build an underwater viewer, used by Chip in the book, and two interviews: one with the mermaid and one with William. This book encourages kids to believe in themselves and not be so quick to doubt others.  This is a book that kids will find enjoyable as well as informative.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Moore, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wharton, Laura S., Wharton, William L. B.

Ernest Beasley. Cape Fear Murders. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2011.

capefearThe body count gets high in this novel of adultery, revenge, and abuse of power set in Lee County, North Carolina.  First one high school girl is raped and murdered, then another, and another, and another. When the father of the fourth victim becomes impatient with the pace of the investigation, he contacts retired United States Marshall, Kenneth Sadler.  Sadler, a widower, is happy for the work and grateful for an excuse to temporarily relocate away from the many widows in nearby Moore County who view him as a desirable catch.

Sadler does not get off on the right foot with Lee County Sheriff Joe Dorman.  While it’s natural that the local authorities do not welcome a private investigator from the outside, Sadler learns that Sheriff Dorman may have particular reasons for trying to keep a tight rein on this case.  Other discoveries raise questions about the behaviors and intentions of both high school students and the adults in their lives.  Whose behavior is more foolish? More dangerous?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Beasley, Ernest, Coastal Plain, Lee, Moore, Mystery, New Hanover

Peggy Payne. Cobalt Blue. Washington: Roundfire Books, 2013.

Cobalt BlueThirty-eight year-old Pinehurst-based artist Andi Branson has hit a low point in her life. Her long-term relationship with her boyfriend Charlie has fizzled out and her creative output is stunted. Generating brilliant, original works isn’t exactly easy when you’re stuck pumping out commercial commissions. The readers first meet Andie pitching herself to be hired on a sports-themed mural for a country club. Andie isn’t thrilled about the prospect of selling her work to an executive board, and her spirits are further dampened when she discovers that her mural will be “branded” for cocktail napkins and towels and all the other disposable, retail-churning “little niceties.” As the board members gather around and critique her portfolio, Andi deplores the direction of her career and life.

Ultimately, the board hires her to create the mural, and the head of the board, Tripp, propositions Andie for another, secretive request. He asks Andie to paint a portrait of U.S. senator, Billy Sylvester. Sylvester is an ultraconservative and racist politician. The senator intends to announce his resignation from the Senate and wishes for a portrait to symbolize his professional legacy. At first, the offer flummoxes Andie. She does not agree with Sylvester’s politics, but the hefty commission of $100,000 finally wins her over. Not surprisingly, Andie clashes with the senator.

As she begins to work on the projects, Andie experiences a strange new sensation. She cannot identify the new force or its origin, but it unleashes carnal desires and creative inspiration. However, Andie cannot control this new compulsion, which she eventually learns is called kundalini rising. Her lack of restraint frightens her and sends her on a journey of discipline and enlightenment to harness this new source of untamed energy and power. Andie turns first to traditional methods of therapy and then, when unsatisfied with the results, to less trod approaches, notably visits to a tarot card reader and a voodoo priestess in New Orleans. Novelist Peggy Payne bravely explores foreign concepts like kundalini and tantric enlightenment with strong descriptive skill. Readers should be prepared for explicit instances of sexuality in this novel of spiritual and sensual awakening.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Moore, Payne, Peggy, Piedmont

Shelley Pearsall. Jump into the Sky. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.

Jump into the SkyChange is nothing new to thirteen-year- old Levi Battle. He is well acquainted with getting passed around and traded off among relatives. His mother, Queen Bee Walker, a beautiful but demanding jazz singer, abandoned Levi as an infant in an old Ford in the parking lot of a jazz club because she was dissatisfied with her unglamorous lifestyle and the weight of her maternal obligations. His father, Charles Battle, left Levi behind to serve as an army lieutenant in World War II. By contrast to his family, Levi views himself as a person who sticks around, even though his relatives are constantly shifting.

In his father’s absence, Levi lived first in the custody of his grandmother. Upon her death, he was transferred to the care of his Aunt Odella. The novel begins in the spring of 1945. After three years of housing her nephew, Aunt Odella has decided that since the war is almost over, the time has arrived for Levi to depart Chicago and reconnect with his father who is stationed in Fayetteville. Truth be told, she is tired of her charge and wants a reprieve from her responsibility. For three years she has slept on a cot in her living room to make space for Levi in her cramped apartment. With the end of the war in sight, Aunt Odella sees the opportunity for her personal liberation too.

So Aunt Odella packs Levi onto a train from Illinois to North Carolina with a suitcase and a bag of fried chicken. Levi is panic-stricken. He fears that he will arrive at his father’s army post unwanted. As the train travels further South, Levi faces another unexpected trouble as well–racism. Before relocating, Levi was unaware of the full extent of regional differences toward race. He is unaccustomed to the open hostility that he meets in the South. On his route and upon his arrival to North Carolina, he makes a couple of honest faux pas that do not jibe with the laws of Jim Crow. In one hard lesson, a shopkeeper threatens Levi’s life when he asks for a Coca-Cola. Following that encounter, Levi understands Southern racial etiquette with greater clarity.

With a little bit of luck, Levi manages to arrive unharmed in Fayetteville only to discover that his father’s unit has moved out to a new, undisclosed location. Yet again, he has been deserted, albeit unintentionally. The people in Levi’s life do not appear to discard him totally out of malevolence. Outside factors seem to nudge between Levi and his family and snip the ties. During his time in North Carolina, Levi encounters an old sweetgrass basket weaver named MawMaw Sands who teaches him that at the center of every basket is “a knot of pain” that anchors its foundation. In MawMaw Sands’ opinion, pain and sweetness are interwoven in life. Levi’s life appears knotted with an especially large amount of pain. His challenge is to clutch at the sweetness he can find and braid it in, no matter the struggle.

Novelist Shelley Pearsall sends Levi on a journey to unexpected locations across the country in pursuit of his father. Family, is not so easily found or established, and, as Pearsall reveals, these bonds must sometimes be learned anew. This book is intended for children and young adults, however, Pearsall’s memorable characters and witty narrator could hook readers of any age. Additionally, the portrayal of racism from Levi’s adolescent and unfamiliar perspective is poignant in its genuine and innocent surprise.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Coastal Plain, Cumberland, Moore, Pearsall, Shelley, Piedmont

Karen Foley. Coming Up for Air. Toronto: Harlequin, 2012.

comingupforairArmy captain Jenna Larson is an ace Black Hawk helicopter pilot on her way from Fort Drum in New York to Kabul Airbase in Afghanistan. Stuck at Fort Bragg in North Carolina for three days before heading out, Jenna finds herself running into the same handsome serviceman over and over. Her nosy Warrant Officer and best friend, Laura Costanza, ID’s him– he’s Chase Rawlins, a soon-to-be-deployed, serious-minded special ops officer. When Jenna next sees him at a local bar, he seems just as attracted to her as she is to him. One thing leads to another. Jenna files the memorable encounter away in her head for later, when she’s running dangerous missions in Afghanistan. She never thinks she’ll see Chase Rawlins again.

In fact, she’d be surprised to learn that she has never met Chase Rawlins to begin with. Her tryst was not with him, but with his identical twin brother Chance– a hot-headed, devilish Apache helicopter pilot. When Jenna’s path crosses that of the real Chase in Afghanistan, she’s surprised and disappointed but stoic about his blank response to her presence…until she runs into Chance the same day. Chance hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Jenna, and when he finally sets her case of mistaken identity to rights, she isn’t pleased. Jenna has rules about sleeping with other pilots. Will Chance get a second chance with Jenna? And is their budding romance able to withstand both Afghanistan and the United States Army’s strict regulations?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Coastal Plain, Cumberland, Foley, Karen, Harnett, Hoke, Moore, Romance/Relationship

Laura S. and William L. B. Wharton. Monsters Below. Mount Airy, NC: Broad Creek Press, 2012.

School is finally over, and vacation stretches ahead! Jock Avery has just finished fourth grade, and is looking forward to spending the whole summer at his grandparents’ lake house on Longleaf Lake in Moore County, NC. Jock has spent many happy summers there learning to swim, fish, water ski, and sail, but this summer he is a little sad. His busy parents won’t be able to join him much, and none of his cousins or friends will be able to visit. Jock figures he’ll be spending a lot of time with his favorite intrepid (fictional) adventurer, Sam Justice, when he discovers that a new family has just moved in next door: a single mom with two kids around his age!

Jock is excited to share the lake with his new friends Lyanna and Chip, but Chip is convinced there is a monster in the lake, and won’t have anything to do with it. Jock is sure there isn’t a monster in Longleaf Lake, but he has been hearing some strange screeching noises recently. Could there be a monster? Additionally, the kids have spotted their grumpy neighbor Mr. Harrison doing something mysterious out on the lake at night. If there is a monster…is Mr. Harrison feeding it? The trio decide to investigate, but their curiosity about what lies beneath the lake waters could end up with them in hot water. Or worse, eaten by a monster!

Co-authored by seasoned novelist Laura S. Wharton and her young son William, this first installment in the  Mystery at the Lake House series is a great chapter book for children ages 6-12. It also includes a wealth of information on bird watching for children, as well as recipes for some of the characters’ favorite foods.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.



Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Moore, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wharton, Laura S., Wharton, William L. B.

Ernest M. Poate. The Trouble at Pinelands. New York: Chelsea House, 1922.

The “trouble” in the title is murder.  The atmosphere should be one of happy anticipation at Fort House, for Dorothy McGregor and Dr. Lewis Parker are to be married in two days.  But the house is inhabited by poltergeists, an invalid aunt who just might oppose the marriage, and her nurse who has a mysterious past.  When Dr. Parker asks Dr. Gaskell, another local physician, to look in on Aunt Mary, they argue over her condition.  The next morning, when Dr. Gaskell is found dead, the soon-to-be bridegroom is the prime suspect.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1920-1929, 1922, Coastal Plain, Moore, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Novels to Read Online, Poate, Ernest M.

Alexandra Sokoloff. The Unseen. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009.

People who have been in this area for some time will be delighted to see that Alexandra Sokoloff is bringing the work of J. B. and Louisa Rhine to the attention of a new generation.  From the 1920s to 1965, the Rhine parapsychology research lab at Duke University added the spice of parapsychology to the local intellectual scene.  The Rhines investigated ESP, psychokinesis, and poltergeists.  In The Unseen, Laurel MacDonald has left heartbreak in California and moved east to join the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University.  Professor MacDonald’s area of research involves Myers-Briggs typology, but when a library exhibit rekindles her interest in the work of the Rhines, she moves out of her safety zone in more than one sense.  She and a handsome co-worker enlist two exceptional students to help duplicate earlier investigations of poltergeists.  The four move to Folger House, an estate in Moore County and the site of poltergeist manifestations decades before. The tensions and suspicions among the researchers are nothing compared to what they encounter at Folger House.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coastal Plain, Durham, Moore, Piedmont, Sokoloff, Alexandra, Suspense/Thriller

Katharine Newlin Burt. The Red Lady. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1920.

As a housekeeper at a country place near Pine Cone (a fictional Southern Pines), red-haired Janice Gale becomes involved in the search for stolen Russian jewels. Trap doors, strange guests, and several murder attempts figure in the plot of this mystery.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1920, 1920-1929, Burt, Katharine Newlin, Moore, Mystery, Novels to Read Online, Piedmont

Roberta Isleib. Fairway to Heaven. New York: Penguin, 2005.

Pro golfer Cassie Burdette has a lot to do when she arrives in Pinehurst, N.C., site of both her best friend’s wedding and a prestigious golf tournament. Her on-again off-again boyfriend Mike Callahan is in town, too, and it looks like she’ll be seeing plenty of him as he’s a member of the wedding party and her partner in the tournament. As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, there are a serious of murders in town, which may be linked to the mysterious disappearance of the father of the bride. Burdette is quickly on the case.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2005, Isleib, Robert, Moore, Mystery, Piedmont