In terms of intriguing fiction set in Kansas, Roy Bird figures “The Virgin of Small Plains” is about the best.
“From the reader’s perspective, it is lively, mysterious, romantic, with a little occult and some famous Kansas weather thrown in for good measure,” says Bird, director of the Kansas Center for the Book.
The book by Nancy Pickard, set in rural Kansas, is the selection for the third annual “Kansas Reads” event, which aims to have as many state residents as possible read the novel and gather for discussions and other presentations about the book.
Pickard, who lives in Prairie Village, has written 16 novels, primarily in the mystery genre. In “The Virgin of Small Plains” ($23.95), she tells the story of Abby, a 16-year-old girl who is attempting to determine the identity of and what happened to a 17-year-old girl whose body was found in the small town of Small Plains.
The Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., has several events scheduled for the “Kansas Reads” event:
• “The Virgin of Small Plains,” discussion led by Tom Prasch, professor of history at Washburn University, 8 p.m. Feb. 11.
• “Talking Tombstones: History in the Cemetery,” talk by Albert Hamscher, professor of history at Kansas State University, 7 p.m. Feb. 17.
• “An Evening with Nancy Pickard,” 7 p.m. Feb. 25.
• “Flint Hills Images,” featuring works by photographers and painters, Monday through Feb. 28 at the library’s gallery space.