By Eleanor Sullo
Wings ePress Inc - March 2002
ISBN: 159088941X - Paperback / ebook
1860s Devon, England
Reviewed by: Rachel A Hyde, MyShelf.com
Historic Chambercombe Manor in North Devon is the setting for this paranormal romantic mystery set in the 1860s. Olivia deBaine is concerned that somebody is trying to kill her father, the irascible Sir William. Her brother Christian is already dead and her mother lying crippled with a stroke so she calls upon Harrison Pell of Scotland Yard and the Society for Psychical Research. Olivia thinks that a ghost causes all the misfortune, but down-to-earth Harrison thinks there is a more scientific reason for it all and a flesh and blood perpetrator - but whom? He has already fallen in love with Olivia but she seems to be the prime suspect with her knowledge of herbs (what is she doing with that digitalis?) and Sir William is certainly an unpopular man that nobody seems to like apart from their unpleasant neighbors.
Smuggling, ghosts, locked rooms it is all here in a delightfully gothic romance reminiscent of Victoria Holt or Virginia Coffman. Science and the supernatural clash head on in a romance between people from two worlds, and I certainly didn't guess everything that was going on.
This book could stand some editing though and at times treads water or repeats events, giving the impression that it is taking place in "real time" which is a novel idea but one which needs to be overflowing with adventures if it is to work (think of TV series that use this device). This aside, I enjoyed reading this gothic tale and so will all other fans of this all too neglected genre.
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