Tuesday, September 1

John Harwood: The Seance

A young woman with few prospects is surprised when a distant relative dies and leaves her the beneficiary of a large estate. She is even more surprised by the reaction of the lawyer who delivers news of her windfall: he warns her that the house is cursed, the grounds are haunted and suggest that she might not the be natural daughter of her parents but that of a scandalous cousin accused of murdering her husband then running away with an unnamed lover never to be seen again.
Fascinated, she begins to research the history of both the house and the family. She soon comes to believe that the murder never happened, that the accused were set up and the supposed victim still alive and well.
At this point she is approached by the Society for Psycical Research, who wish to hold a séance at the house. She agrees and during the society’s examination of the premises certain evidence is found that prove her suspicions are correct.
This knowledge puts her life in danger but she finds she cannot rest until she clears the name of the supposed murderess, which might just be her natural mother, and exposes the fraud of the supposed victim, who may be her natural father.
This book, while a little slow to start, turned out to be an interesting historical novel full of intrigue.
Refusing to plod the predictable path, the story twists and turns, seemingly setting up one situation only to deliver another.
Though it wasn’t quite what I had expected, from the title and blurb I had anticipated more of a ghost story rather than a crime mystery, it did not disappoint. It kept me guessing even beyond the point when I had worked out what had actually taken place but didn’t spring a completely unanticipated culprit on the unsuspecting reader in the way of historical crime writing.
Authentic to its era and entertaining too-Lynn.

No comments: