My Ghost Has a Name: Memoir of a Murder

On October 20, 1999, Nell Crowley Davis, 38, was brutally murdered in her backyard, her body hidden in the family's compost bin. Three teens were charged with the crime and ultimately convicted: John Ridgway, Kevin Bergin and Sarah Nickel, Davis's daughter--who insists she is not guilty of her mother's murder. In My Ghost Has a Name, Rosalyn Rossignol sets out to uncover what exactly happened on that fateful day--and why.

The story follows much of the traditional true crime form: Rossignol retraces the police investigation and court cases in great detail while reaching out to key players--including the suspects--for their points of view and perspectives. As she recounts this research for readers, she is quick to point out where her investigation leads to insights that are new or different from those of the police originally involved, especially as those differences may provide some final insight into Sarah's guilt or innocence.

What makes the book different from others in the genre, however, is Rossignol's connection to the victim, with whom she grew up and maintained a close friendship through her young adult years. This connection gives My Ghost Has a Name added depth. As she grasps for a simple answer to a complex question, Rossignol becomes more and more intertwined in her own story, progressing "from one idiosyncratic 'version' of the truth to another." Following along as Rossignol unravels those versions is both horrifying and somehow comforting, as she searches for threads of humanity in an inhuman crime. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm