• Ella Maud

  • The Novel of an Unsolved True Crime Story
  • By: Nicholas Nicastro
  • Narrated by: Aven Shore
  • Length: 11 hrs
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Ella Maud

By: Nicholas Nicastro
Narrated by: Aven Shore
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Publisher's Summary

A beautiful girl of 19 disappears from her home after bidding a fateful goodnight to her sweetheart. She is found dead in the Pasquotank River, 36 days later. He is convicted twice for her murder - but is innocent. So what really happened?

Ella Maud Cropsey, known to her friends and family as Nell, was born in July 1882 in Brooklyn, New York. She is the second of nine children, and especially close to her older sister Olive, nicknamed Ollie. In 1898, the family moves from New York to Elizabeth City in North Carolina. They live in a large, rambling house called Seven Pines, and her father grows potatoes. Nell starts seeing Jim Wilcox, son of the local sheriff. They are an odd couple: Nell is beautiful, independent, and eager for new experiences; Jim is short, stolid, and five years older than Nell, but content with his lot. Nell is restless, ambitious, and willful, outgrowing parochial confines. On the night of November 20, 1901, Jim and other guests are there, calling on Nell and Ollie. Around 11 p.m., Jim rises and bids the group good-bye. Then asks Nell to accompany him to the porch. She is never seen alive again.

In Ella Maud, Nicholas Nicastro revisits a haunting mystery that still fascinates a nation a century later. His masterly re-imagining of these tragic events sees beyond the prejudices that destroys families and taints small communities but corrodes civilization itself. Nicastro’s simple storytelling style with its kaleidoscopic perspectives is moving, beautiful, and profound.

"This is a splendid novel, meticulously researched and beautifully written....The ending is a tour-de-force." (Joy Martin, author of A Wrong to Sweeten and Seeking Clemency)

"There is a great sense of time and place, fascinating historical details of dress, manners, and American family life... An excellent read." (A. V. Denham, author of The Czar's Man)

©2018 Nicholas Nicastro (P)2018 Nicholas Nicastro

What listeners say about Ella Maud

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good choice for the true crime buff

As a true crime nerd I loved the audio version of this book. Dear listener, if its blood, guts, and gore that you crave, then you woent find that here. What you will find is a well crafted story, with a great plot, plenty of twist an turns, an most of all a glimpse into the life and times of the characters that the story was woven around. I especially loved Ella. Aven Shore done an excellent job of bringing her to life with her young an girlish sounding voice. Many thanks to nicholas nicastro, Aven Shore, and everybody else involved in making this a great audio experience

2 people found this helpful

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An interesting re-imagining of a historical case

I went back and forth on whether this was a 3 or 4 star review. I kept leaning towards a 3 star review due to the first half of the book. It just seemed to go on forever without any real substance to it. The characters were well developed, especially Nell and Jim. I liked the author's re-imagined version of what might have happened to Nell. It certainly makes sense based on some of the facts of the case. What's really sad is even after all this time since this event, we are still putting innocent people in prison. What a sad and troubled family and suspect.

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Excellent

This is a heartbreaking story it made me cry it shows what damage a simple lie would do I loved it and would recommend it

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Just a bit of local "history"

I have heard bits and pieces of the Nell Cropsy story during local ghost walks in Elizabeth City. I thoroughly enjoyed this version and am myself wondering if Jim really committed the crime he was accused of.

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Family

I like reading about the late 1800s and 1900s and in this book I read this,intrigue, mystery and love it’s all here.The author did an excellent job,the narrator kept you there. I listen to this eight hours a day until it was finished. I would recommend this book it is one of the best.

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  • Helen
  • 09-08-19

amazing story

A beautiful girl of 19 disappears from her home after bidding a fateful goodnight to her sweetheart. She is found dead in the Pasquotank River, 36 days later. He is convicted twice for her murder - but is innocent. So what really happened?

could not stop listening yes I did it 11 hours straight 10/10