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Friday, August 30, 2013

Delia's Shadow and Ill-Gotten Gains

Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer is a ghost story and a murder mystery combo.  Set in San Francisco in 1915, Delia Martin has recently returned to her home after years away in New York.  

In the 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco, Delia lost her parents and gained the questionable gift of seeing ghosts.  Not a particularly good exchange, to put it mildly. In hopes of leaving the ghosts behind, Delia takes a teaching position in New York.  For a while, the move was a success, but when a stubborn ghost appears and continues to haunt her dreams, Delia feels required to return to her home city and her best friend, Sadie.

Sadie is about to be married to Jack, member of the police force who is currently involved in a murder investigation with his best friend and superior officer Gabe.  The two are hunting a serial killer who bears a sinister resemblance to the killer Gabe's father hunted 30 years ago.

Of course, Delia's persistent ghost has a direct connection and will be instrumental in the investigation.  

The setting is a major part of the story, and San Francisco will always be a city of interest for many reasons.  The main characters are all likable, but my favorite is the psychic Theodora, who in my opinion deserves her owns series.  If you are willing to accept ghosts, then psychics are also reasonable, and Dora's character is both flamboyant and wise.

On the downside, once again we have grisly murders and torture with more detail than necessary.  

I expect we will hear more from Moyer about Delia, Gabe, Sadie, and Jack...and hopefully, more about Theodora.


Mystery/Supernatural.  Sept. 17, 2013.  Print version:  337 pages.

Ill-Gotten Gains by Australian author Ilsa Evans is the second in the Nell Forrest mystery series.  

The little Australian town of Majic is preparing an event celebrating the 150th anniversary of the town's founding.  Nell's youngest daughter Quin has a school assignment to find a previously unknown fact about Petar Majic, the Croatian immigrant who founded the town, and when Nell takes her to visit Petar's crypt--a small act of vandalism results in a big surprise.

Nell reports the information to Sam, the head of the historical society.  That night Sam calls sounding very excited and wants to see Nell in person to tell her the news.  The next day, Sam is dead.  Heart attack or murder?

When another member of the historical society is discovered in what looks like a suicide scenario, events take another turn.

Nell is the author of The Middle-Age Spread newspaper column; she has five daughters and a rather messy personal life.  Each chapter begins with a comment about Nell's column, and throughout the narrative Nell has personal thoughts that she imagines as newspaper headlines.

Nell, her sister Petra, and her new friend Deb (who happens to be the sister of the woman Nell's husband left her for  -if you are a grammar purist, reword syntax to include for whom) instigate their own investigation and discover some strange twists of fate that within 150 years have self-corrected some terrible misdeeds.

While the historic mystery is serious, the current mystery has plenty of humorous moments.  I enjoyed both the mystery and the characters.

NetGalley/Momentum Books

Mystery.  Sept. 2013.  Print version:  234 pages. 

1 comment:

  1. Ill Gotten Gains sounds like it has a nice mix of elements. Thank you for your thoughts.
    -Dilettantish Reader