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Séance in Sepia
Michelle Black

Five Star/Gale, Cengage Learning
October 21, 2011 / ISBN 978-1432825485
Historical Mystery / 1875 / USA

Reviewed by Linda Morelli

Flynn Kiernan takes a break from teaching to help her father by buying books for his used book store. One day, she finds a spirit photograph from 1875, featuring a woman with the images of two men's faces floating on either side of her. On the photo's back are the words, "Medora Lamb." Though Flynn can't find anything online about the woman, she decides to sell the unusual photo on eBay. The bidding quickly soars over $1,000. One bidder, Matt Holtser, emails Flynn, writing that he has reached his limit and asking if he can copy the photo for a book he's writing on his ancestor, attorney Franklin Oberholtzer.

In 1875, Alec Ingersoll is on trial for poisoning his wife, Medora Lamb, and shooting his best friend, Cameron Langley. Oberholtzer is his attorney in this notorious case involving a threesome who believed in the concept of "Free Love" - a belief followed by Victoria Woodhull, a spiritualist who is hired by Alec to contact Medora and Cam to determine the true cause of their death.

In Séance in Sepia, the author, Michelle Black, has included a real historical personage, Victoria Woodhull. Victoria was a spiritualist who owned a newspaper, ran for President in 1872, and fought for a change in society's structure to provide more rights for women. She was ahead of her time, a fact the author uses as she artfully juggles the reader from past to present and vice versa.

Séance in Sepia is an exceptional novel with an engrossing mystery, a fast moving plot, vivid settings and strong characters. Ms. Black's writing style has the perfect blend of narrative and dialogue, one that held me captive from the first page to the surprise ending. A must read for anyone who loves a great mystery with just the right touch of the paranormal.

Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2012
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