Taconic – Murder – Mountains – Highways

Taconic Murda by Uriel E. Gribetz

Initially the title of this book confused me – I got the ‘murda’ bit as slang spelling and very New York accent but why ‘Taconic’? What did this word mean and why was the book called this?

So, in my usual researcher fashion, I looked the word up so find out its relevance and got even more confused. According to the dictionary ‘taconic’ is a geological term – so why was it being used here?

Reading the book got me no nearer to solving the puzzle until suddenly it was mentioned as a highway. Ah, the penny dropped. It was the name of a road.

But I still thought it to be a fictional road until I had the bright idea of looking up Taconic highway. Imagine my surprise to find it really existed, in just the spot that was described in the book. I hues if I had lived in New York, all this would have made sense to me as it seems to be a rather famous highway.

Wikipedia says that it is a 104.12 (how precise) divided highway between Kensico Dam and Chatham and is the longest parkway in the state of New York following the Taconic mountains – ah the geological term….

Roosevelt was the visionary for the road but it was designed by Gilmore Clarke to offer scenic views of the various hills and mountains it passes through. Although only completed in the 1960s it is now a listed highway with the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the development of parkways It is the second-longest continuous road listed on the Register after Virginia’s Skyline Drive,.

The road is an important regional artery as one of the primary routes to northern New England and upstate New York from New York City and Long Island. The southern sections, in Westchester County, have become a commuter route into the city for residents who moved into towns that became suburbs.


So now why was the book called Taconic Murda? Well because of the murders that occurred after the various characters travelled the Taconic between New York and the commuter towns.

Now as to the book content. I rather liked the sparse style of the writing although its choppiness made it almost uncomfortable to read at times and thus brought you into the uncomfortable mindset of the main character of the book. Just one factual point though. A student living with her Professor just wouldn’t happen without the Professor being sacked due his duty of care for his students. Especially if he was her supervisor for her PhD!

The story had some nice twists and turns and you were never quite sure whether or not the main character was a hero or not or just a man who was trying hard to hold things together as his life unravelled around him due to some silly mistakes made. Which led to further mistakes and criminal acts and murder.

I did rather like the book but not sure I would read more by this author unless the writing style changed. It fitted this book but would it fit others?


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