One of our recommended books is The Streel by Mary Logue

THE STREEL

A Deadwood Mystery


When I was fifteen and my brother Seamus sixteen, we attended our own wake. Our family was in mourning, forced to send us off to America.

The year is 1880, and of all the places Brigid Reardon and her brother might have dreamed of when escaping Ireland’s potato famine, Deadwood, South Dakota, was not one of them. But Deadwood, in the grip of gold fever, is where Seamus lands and where Brigid joins him in an attempt to allude the unwanted attentions of the son of her rich employer in St. Paul. But the morning after her arrival,

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When I was fifteen and my brother Seamus sixteen, we attended our own wake. Our family was in mourning, forced to send us off to America.

The year is 1880, and of all the places Brigid Reardon and her brother might have dreamed of when escaping Ireland’s potato famine, Deadwood, South Dakota, was not one of them. But Deadwood, in the grip of gold fever, is where Seamus lands and where Brigid joins him in an attempt to allude the unwanted attentions of the son of her rich employer in St. Paul. But the morning after her arrival, a grisly tragedy occurs; Seamus, suspected of the crime, flees, and Brigid is left to clear his name and to manage his mining claim, which suddenly looks more valuable than he and his partners supposed.

Mary Logue brings her signature brio and nerve to this story of a young Irish woman turned reluctant sleuth as she makes her way in a strange and often dangerous new world. From the famine-stricken city of Galway to the raucous hustle of boomtown Deadwood, Logue’s new thriller conjures the romance and perils, and the tricky everyday realities, of a young immigrant surviving by her wits and grace in nineteenth-century America.

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  • University of Minnesota Press
  • Paperback
  • May 2020
  • 224 Pages
  • 9781517908591

Buy the Book

$22.95

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About Mary Logue

Mary Logue has published thirteen mysteries, nine in the Claire Watkins series, as well as poetry and young adult nonfiction and fiction, including the the best-selling Sleep like a Tiger, which won a Caldecott and a Zolotow honor award.

Praise

“Tersely and beautifully, Mary Logue recreates the muddy streets of Deadwood, the haphazard keeping of the peace, and the Black Hills gold rush of the late 1800s. The Streel is both a taut mystery and a cautionary tale of the evils of greed. I loved the redoubtable heroine, Brigid Reardon, and I loved every stunning line of this fine story.” —William Kent Krueger, author of This Tender Land

“A well-constructed plot, lilting prose, and a heroine who’s determined to escape constricting female roles make this an exceptional regional historical.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Discussion Questions

1. The Streel opens with Brigid and her brother being forced to leave their home in Ireland and emigrate to America. Was there anything in this immigration story that surprised you? Do you know when and how your ancestors came to this country? Does reading this book change how you view immigration today?

2. A title like The Streel brings to mind the paradox of women being either a sinner or a saint—“a virgin or a whore.” If Lily is the sinner, then is Brigid the saint? In what ways are they alike? How does Logue try to humanize Lily, make her likeable?

3. When you think of your own life, what would be comparable to Brigid’s immigration? Moving to a foreign country? How about being forced to colonize Mars?

4. Have you ever been to Deadwood? The Black Hills? If so, what was your impression of this area now?

5. Did you like Charlie? Was there a point at which you started to distrust him?

6. How important is it that the novel is set in Deadwood? In what ways does Logue utilize the setting?

7. Brigid is only fifteen when this novel opens. What were you like at fifteen? Can you imagine yourself, or someone you know who is this age, doing what she did?

8. The Irish at this time said short prayers throughout the day. Logue translated these prayers and had them start each section. How did these prayers work to set a tone in the book?

9. While Brigid is the main character, there are many other women in the book. Which ones stood out for you? And how were they used in the story?

10. What do you think will happen to Brigid and Padraic after they leave Deadwood? What do you want to happen to them?