A Cry from the Dark Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Cry from the Dark

Scribner, Feb 2004, 24.00, 288 pp.
ISBN 0743253450

She is a famous well respected author living in the heart of London but her roots are in the Outback of Australia in a small town called Bundaroo. She grew up there in between the two World Wars and even at sixteen her teachers and other adults in the community knew she was meant for the outside world. At her high school graduation, something horrific happened to Bettina Whitelaw and all she wanted to do was get away from the town she once loved.
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Now in her eighties, Bettina is writing a fictionalized account of her life and the only person who knows the Bettina from Australia is her lifelong friend Hughie, a misfit she adopted when his parents moved from England to Bundareo. One day when she comes back from an outing, she realizes someone was in her flat looking on her desk. When she goes to Scotland for a vacation with her brother and daughter, the police calls her home because the woman who was house sitting for her was viciously attacked and lies in a coma. Bettina does not have a clue as to who could have done such a thing but believes there is a link between this crime and the break-in.

The heroine is a very interesting and complex character but readers will find it difficult to warm up to her because she has almost always put her own needs first. Robert Barnard uses flashbacks at times as a means of allowing the audience to see the heroine in the winter of 1938 and experience the events that caused her to become self-reliant, independent and touchingly vulnerable.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of A Cry from the Dark

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   crazed lover/family member If story PRIMARILY about main chr. being hunted...    -   hunted by killer/stalker

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Cynical or arrogant


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Eastern Europe Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Australia

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Robert Barnard Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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