Fear the Light by Elizabeth Ferrars

First Published in 1960

Home of Horror
Peggy Robertson thought she had left the small town where she was raised for behind her. Peggy had won honors at college, settled in the city, and now, despite her good looks and comparative youth, already had launched a brilliant career as a scholar and teacher.

But now Peggy was coming home…back to a house haunted by violent death and strange mystery…back to a man who was a genius or a devil or both…back to a love that could not be spokeand to a deadly danger that would not be denied…

This synopsis on the back of the book is a bit deceiving as Peggy’s cousin Charles is really the main character and her named is spelled differently inside the book! It’s Peggie in the book. Hmm…

Peggie makes a minor appearance in the first part of the book after her granny is found dead on the stairs and then goes back home (or does she?). But she does play a bigger part in the last quarter of the book as does a secret romance.

Charles’ Aunt Alice, Peggie’s granny, is found dead on the stairs when Charles returns from a short walk to the mailbox the first evening he is home after a 3 year absence. He stayed away all that time as he was in love with the neighbor’s wife, but she loved her husband. In that three years a lot had changed mostly his Aunt Alice’s health. She’d had a bad fall. Alice never attempted the stairs since her fall. What was she doing on them? Why was the attic door open when Charles is sure David Baldrey, the odd jobs man, had closed it earlier in the day? Who is this Professor Stacey thats been writing Aunt Alice about researching long dead relatives and why is he here a week before he was expected? Then there is a second murder!

Well plotted, lots of good suspects, secrets and illicit love affairs and a grand old house. Good read. Never disappointed by Elizabeth Ferrars.

This book qualifies for Bev’s Vintage Mystery Cover Scavenger Hunt Silver Age Mysteries for the category A Statue. That brings me up to a total of 6, 4 for Silver Age and 2 for Golden Age.

Also qualifies for Gothic Fiction Reading Challenge @Book of SecretsT his is my second book for this one.

And of course Read Scotland 2016 as Ms. Ferrars is Scottish! 7 of 21 books needed for this one.
3 birds with one book!

Peggy Ann

 

Bloq by Alan Jones

‘A father waits in Glasgow’s Central Station for his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train has pulled in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.’

Another good tale from Alan Jones! This is a gritty crime novel with sexual content. Alan hits on the hot topic of slavery/human trafficking in this book. Not a pleasant subject, but that seems to be Alan’s speciality!
It took awhile for me to connect with a character in this one, but by the middle of the book I was invested with the character of Bill, the father. I was really impressed with the amount of technical knowledge used by Bill to track the doings at the Albanian mob owned nightclub Bloq! The lengths Bill goes to find his daughter are amazing.  Another WOW twist ending in this one too! I love those kinds of endings! Alan has it perfected!
The early reviews are glowing for this book! You can read the first four chapters at the website Bloq and pre-order the book due out April 1st here or in the UK here.
A blog tour begins March 29th. Alan will be here on April 5th explaining the technical bits Bill uses to catch his man! Be sure and drop in then!
Thanks Alan for the advance copy!
Peggy Ann

Book Update Part 2

I recently posted about the audio books I’ve read in the last 2 1/2 months, now for the print books…

I read two Jane Langton mysteries. I LOVE her books! I read the first two in her Homer Kelly series and of course I read the second one first and the first one second. Oh well…

The Minuteman Murder (the first Home Kelly book. previously titled The Transcendental Murder)
Set in Concord Massachusetts, home to the transcendental American past. Seems everyone there is infatuated with the Transcendentalists, Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, Dickinson. Homer Kelly, a detective is in Concord researching for a book he is writing on one of the Transcendentalists. He meets Mary Morgan in the library. She is also working on a book, hers is about the Women of the Transcendental movement. It’s love/hate at first sight!

Ernest Goss, a wealthy resident reveals at a town meeting that he has come into possession of some rather delicate Transcendental letters that shed a rather shady light on the Transcendentalist themselves! Are they genuine or fakes? Several residents don’t want them published but Ernest is determined to make his name with the publication of them. What lengths will the town go to, to stop Ernest publishing them?

Patriots Day is here and the town always has a big festival on April 19th commemorating the Battle of Concord, one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War. The highlight of the festival is the re-enactment of the ride of Paul Revere or Dr. Samuel Prescott who was the one that went on to Concord with the news that the British were coming. Shortly after the ride and the parade a shot is heard and a boy scout finds the body of Ernest Goss! Did one of his sons kill him, or someone who didn’t want the letters published? Mary and Homer are hot on the case.

A good sense of place and quotes from Thoreau, Emerson, Dickinson and the lot at the beginning of each chapter and throughout the book. Wonderful quirky characters and a gem of a detective in Homer Kelly.

This book counts for My Readers Block Scavenger Hunt Silver, a revolver on the cover.

Dark Nantucket Noon by Jane Langton
Homer and Mary are back in this second installment set on Nantucket. An eclipse of the sun turned daytime into chillingly unnatural night and when the light returned, someone was dead! Kitty Clark came to Nantucket to observe the eclipse at a prime location for viewing. Arriving at the lighthouse at Great Point at the very end of the island, she stumbles on a dead woman. The dead woman just happens to be the wife of Joe Green, Kitty’s ex-lover and when the party descends the lighthouse stairs and find Helen dead, Kitty is standing over her with bloody hands. One of the men said, ‘You killed her’ and Kitty said, ‘No, it was the moon, you see. The moon did it.’

An exceptionally well written whodunit. Suspenseful and tense right to the end! Can Homer prove Kitty is innocent with such evidence against her? A real page turner. I enjoyed this one better than the first and it’s a good thing I read the second one first because it made me hungry for more!! This copy was a Penguin book and full of lovely sketches by the author. You can check out a few on a post I did previously about this book here.

This book also counts for Bev’s Scavenger Hunt Silver, the lighthouse meets the a building other than a house square

and counting towards Read Scotland…

The Lion and Unicorn Quest by Cecilia Peartree
I picked up this little ebook as it is written by a Scots author and would count for Read Scotland. Ms. Peartree has a couple different series. I read the first one in her Crime in the Community series set in Scotland and really enjoyed it. This one is in The Quest series and set in 1950’s London. It centers around a couple who search for and find lost art works, usually lost in the war.

Flora and Oliver work together recovering stolen or lost art works and after a silly argument they aren’t speaking to each other. Flora’s past as a secret agent in the war is coming back to haunt her. She is pulled into an investigation surrounding an old nemesis. In the meantime Oliver is asked to help protect a famous painting being loaned out for display at the Festival of Britain. Doesn’t take long before their different paths cross and they find themselves deep in a murder mystery. Not anything really deep, but quite enjoyable and free at Smashwords! Crime in the Community is free too!

The Last of the Line by John MacKay
Cal’s parents are dead and his last remaining blood relative, Aunt Mary, passes away. Cal returns to the Outer Hebrides to arrange her funeral and take care of her estate. He’s a big city boy now and doesn’t care for or understand the the old islanders way of life. But Cal learns Mary had a secret all his life and he is determined to find out what it is. Could she have been his mother? Will he stay on the island or return to the city? Another wonderfully atmospheric book from MacKay. After reading The Road Dance by him I had to get my hands on all his books and all I can say is I hope he writes more!

Heartland by John MacKay
Ian Martin returns home to Lewis after his marriage ends in divorce. He’s looking to re-connect with his roots and start again. Hoping that reconstructing his ancestral home, an old blackhouse, will give him purpose. While digging up the old floor he unearths a human skeleton. Now he has a mystery to unravel as well. Could it be the skeleton of a high school friend thought lost at sea? I LOVED this book. Characters from The Road Dance are mentioned in this one too. Excellent mystery and beautiful location. If you like tales set in Scotland you really need to get your hands on one of his books.

Book Catch-Up Part One

Oh my I am so behind on reporting on the books I’ve read, I don’t know where to start!

With all the traveling back and forth we’ve done between Tennessee and Pennsylvania I’ve gotten 3 audio books read so I guess I’ll start with those…

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
This is an epistolary novel, a fictional autobiography of Rev. John Ames, a congregationalist pastor in the small Iowa town of Gilead. He is writing an account of his memories and the legacy of his father and grandfather, both of whom were pastors also, to leave to his young son who will be growing up without him as he is quite elderly and dying of a weak heart. His grandfather was a radical abolitionist who carried out raids with John Brown before the Civil War and served as a chaplain for the Union army during the war. His father on the other hand was a Christian pacifist. There is much wisdom to pass to his son from both sides of the aisle so to speak.

There is tension as his best friends wayward son returns home and pays quite a bit of attention to John’s wife, Lila, and John is worried that he might be hoping to move into the position of husband and father when John passes. There is a bit of a mystery as to ‘young Boughton’s’ previous life and some great sin he committed. John is trying to decide if he needs to warn Lila or let it lie. Young Boughton is named after John Ames and he was like the son he never had when he was a young man. Now he struggles with forgiveness and understanding and affection for the young man.

I enjoyed this book and particularly was glad I read this one in audio form. It was as if Rev. Ames was speaking to me across the table telling me his story. I learned a lot from this book too as I listened to this man dissect his life and his faith and the purpose of life as he knows his days are short. If you get a chance read this one!

Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
What can you say about a Rebus book that hasn’t already been said?! I always enjoy them, even though I am not reading them in order. I especially love reading these books on audio too as the narrator has a Scottish accent and it really takes you there. Pity my library only has 3 of his books on audio.

In this one Rebus is asked by Fox who is with the complaints dept. and coming back as a detective soon to help him on a case. A murder ties in with the original group of detectives Rebus started out with. They had a ‘code’ book they called the Shadow Bible. They went by their own set of rules and they weren’t always lawful back then. It puts Rebus in a tight spot as they are his cronies but if one of them is a murderer… Rebus has to have justice, it’s just the way he is. I did figure this one out before the end!

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
Very tense, suspenseful tale set in the Missouri Ozarks. The story is told by different voices throughout, alternating between 16 year old Lucy, her mother Lila (who vanished when Lucy was small), a neighbor Birdy, and her mother’s friend, Gaby.

Lucy’s friend Cheri is found dead and her body cut up and strewn up in a tree. Lucy finds Cheri’s necklace in a mobile home owned by her uncle. She is haunted by the disappearance of her mother long ago and the death of her friend and begins to think they might be connected. But in a town where family and blood ties run deep Lucy might have some tough decisions ahead of her.

Good book! Good sense of place too, you could hear the insects and feel the heat of the Ozark summer.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins
I had to wait forever to get this audio book from the library! There was a long hold list on it.

A taunt psychological thriller, first novel for Ms. Hawkins too! Rachel see’s the same scenes day after day on the train ride to work. She even starts to ‘feel’ like she knows the people she sees as the train passes their houses. But when one of the young women she sees everyday goes missing she learns things aren’t always as they seem! Worth the wait!

Peggy Ann

 

Thunder on the Right by Mary Stewart

A tense, fast-moving novel set in the Pyrenees. Jennifer Silver looks forward to meeting her cousin at Gavarnie, but on arrival she finds that she has vanished. There is evidence that she is dead, but Jennifer refuses to believe it.

Very taunt suspense in the lovely Pyrenees. Jennifer goes to meet her cousin at a convent where she is considering taking her vows after the death of her husband. When she gets there she is told her cousin has died following a terrible car accident. She is shown her grave. But the things those who nursed her before her death are saying just don’t describe Gillian. For one thing she never mentioned her family or told them her cousin was expected and to notify her. And then there are the blue gentians that they say were her favorite flower, she so loved the blue color. Gillian had a rare form of color-blindness!

Then there’s Dona Francisca, in her black habit with her red ruby medallion. Or is she really a nun? If not why does she seem to run the place? Where did all the expensive treasures around the small church come from? How could this small, impoverished convent afford such things? And why does the Reverend Mother not seem to know about them? What is Dona Francisca up to? And what lengths will she go to, to protect whatever it is?

An old flame from Jennifer’s past shows up in town just in the nick of time. Will he be able to help her figure out what really happened to Gillian? A wonderful, tense, climactic ending, with a race up a rough mountain in a terrible storm. Is Gillian really alive? If so will they save her? Who lives and who dies in the made race against time in the raging storm?  Will the boy get the girl? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Peggy Ann