By R. Poole-Carter
Top Publication - Aug or Sept. 2002
ISBN 1-929976-16-X - Trade Paperback
Historical Mystery - Post Civil War, 1865
Reviewed by: Brenda Weeaks,
Isabella Ross was orphaned young and raised by her aunt on Belle Ombre, a southern plantation. When the mystery begins, Isabella is preparing to bury her fiancé who died just after the Civil War. The women, older men and slaves survived the war by hiding the family riches and animals. A Yankee captain continues to visit and help himself to any property he wants. He waits eagerly to get in to their personal business, so Aunt Dorla reminds everyone to be careful. Everything must be kept a secret, including any recent threats or unusual deaths. Recently a slave died falling through an air well. They assumed it was an accident until they found their dead overseer.
When the aunt realizes a killer is lurking about, she asks Paul, a journalist staying with them, to investigate. Paul is writing about war widows and came to the plantation to return Isabella's letters that she had written to her fiancé during the war and were found on a battlefield. The two team up to discover what is haunting the plantation, bringing bad luck and violence upon them. As the story moves, Isabella reveals family secrets and Paul reveals his feelings for her.
What Remains is one of those rare finds, he kind of mystery that is hard to put down. The title is subtle and the cover simple, yet inside readers will find a complicated mystery and strong characters enveloped in the rich historical detail of the South. The author's near-poetic descriptions of the South, the War, and slavery are sensitive and understated, making them stand out all the more. Although the murders are a bit grisly, the read, in general, is pretty tame. There's even a little romance.
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