>> Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Genre: Ghost story
Challenge: RIP II #2
Leslie Stone is a New York detective who snaps and kills the suspect in the brutal murder of a child during the initial interview process. After a stint in a mental hospital she and her family head to the small town of Wellington for a fresh start. Leslie’s husband is hired to do the restoration of the historic Five Mile House. It was where, over a hundred years ago, that Eleanor Bly killed her children and then herself by jumping from the tower window . . . or did she?
This is a combination of ghost/haunted house story and traditional mystery. The town of Wellington is full of secrets from the past and present. It’s a town with a mysterious house, a coven of Wiccans, and a history that includes a mass poisoning at a brothel. When Leslie discovers that she looks almost exactly like the long deceased Eleanor Bly, she starts looking into the deaths of Eleanor and her children and the history of Five Mile House. Eleanor’s ghost tells her story interspersed with the telling of Leslie’s story of the present time.
This book was an interesting mix of detective story and ghost story with a coven of witches and an ancient manuscript tossed in for good measure. The tension builds as the two parallel stories head to their conclusion. The last 50 pages or so are real page turners.
I have to say that Leslie is not a wholly likeable character, and some of the supporting characters are a bit wooden. It’s a short book, though, so there aren’t a lot of pages to develop both the characters and the many mysteries. The author has since written more books with Leslie as the main character, so I might check those out.