Archaeologist Sage Westfield is digging in an old well on
the Isle of Wight when she finds two skeletons. One is probably
a woman, but the other is of a tiny baby. There are legends
of witches and ghosts in the area, and the well’s owners
are convinced that their cottage is haunted. Even the vicar
is having frightening phone calls, and then a modern murder
takes place which is oddly similar to the historical mystery.
This book will probably appeal to readers who enjoy mysteries
with historical links made popular by writers like Kate Ellis
and Elly Griffiths. Sage must juggle several personal problems
as well as trying to keep on top of the excavations and solve
the mysteries. These include her advancing pregnancy, rocky
relationship with the baby’s married father, her mother’s
revelations and her feelings for the vicar. There is a fair
amount going on most of the time but this is a very long novel
and it could have benefited from some editing. The slow pace
means that much of the momentum is lost as things get more
serious and what could have been exciting has a stretched
feel instead. Interspersed between the contemporary events
is the older story dealing with the 16th century murders.
Lord Banstock’s steward (and illegitimate half brother)
Vincent Garland tells of the impending marriage between his
master’s daughter Viola and the mysterious alchemist
Seabourne. Also involved is a beautiful French seamstress
who is unmarried yet having somebody’s baby, the violent
protests of the vicar’s sister and various problems
relating to the political and religious climate of the times.
Parallels are drawn between the people, places and events
of past and present, with two suitably thrilling denouements.
Is this a story of the supernatural? You can make up your
own mind about a few things but mostly this will appeal to
readers of mysteries.
Note: Among the murder victims is a cat