The New York Times
February 13, 2011

FADEAWAY GIRL (Viking, $26.95) may not be the ideal introduction to the adventures of 12-year-old Emma Graham, since the plot is too complicated to follow if you’re not familiar with previous books in the semi-autobiographical series Martha Grimes has set in some nostalgic post-World War II time warp.

Constant readers, however, should relish the latest chapter in Emma’s efforts to unearth the secrets of the little town in western Maryland where her mother runs the decaying Hotel Paradise. Drawn by her runaway imagination to investigate crimes that have become part of local legend, Emma uses sheer cunning and devious methods of interrogation to pry information from the colorful characters she finds at well-trafficked spots like the Rainbow Cafe. They all quicken to life under Grimes’s Dickensian touch, but none more so than Emma. She may keep losing herself in the past, but she’s far too vital to fade away.