An eerie ghost story and a murder mystery

 A dilapidated girls boarding school in small-town Vermont called Idlewild is the setting for a truly scary gothic mystery.  The Broken Girls, by Simone St. James, moves between 1950, when we meet four troubled school girls at Idlewild, and the present when Fiona Sheridan is investigating a plan to re-open the school, where Fiona’s sister was found murdered 20 years earlier. Idlewild School was a dumping ground for the throw-away girls no one wanted to deal with, and in 1950, four friends struggle with the indifferent and sometimes cruel school staff and are menaced by the malignant presence of Mary Hand, a spirit clothed in tattered black who seems to know exactly how to demoralize each girl with a whispered phrase. The past and present are linked when the bones of a young girl are found in a well, and Fiona plunges into an obsessive search for the truth, not only about the school and its haunted past but also the long-suppressed facts of her sister’s murder.  The Broken Girls is a tense and chilling mix of supernatural horror and solid suspense.

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