Headshot of Mary Mackey.
Mary Mackey, ca. 1970s Credit: IndyStar View Source

McCarthy’s List (1979) is a comic novel by Indianapolis native and New York Times bestselling author Mary Mackey. It tells the story of Rinda Sue McCarthy, born in Indianapolis, at the precise moment of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and now imprisoned in Mexico for a murder she did not commit. Rinda Sue has, however, murdered five men and one woman, most of “Them” from Indianapolis and all members of an insidious organization she is not at liberty to name but who abused her and her sensibilities in her youth.

In the course of Rinda Sue’s recounting of the stories of her relationships, the reader is treated to a feminist and surrealistic rendering of a young woman’s coming of age. The notion of “Them” and the ensuing list for McCarthy’s revenge has been given to Rinda Sue in a vision by her dead grandmother, a former Joe McCarthyite, and the dark parable that ensues offers a slapstick social commentary on the nature of male-dominated Indianapolis (and American) culture in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s.

Revised March 2021

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