Title: Relatively Dead
Author: Sheila Connolly
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Mystery, Historical, Paranormal
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About the Book:
Abby Kimball has just moved to New England with her boyfriend and is trying to settle in, but the experience is proving to be quite unsettling, to say the least. While on a tour of local historic homes, Abby witnesses a family scene that leaves her gasping for breath—because the family has been dead for nearly a century. Another haunting episode follows, and another, until it seems to Abby that everything she touches is drawing her in, calling to her from the past.
Abby would doubt her sanity if it weren’t for Ned Newhall, the kind and knowledgeable guide on that disturbing house tour. Rather than telling her she’s hallucinating, Ned takes an interest in Abby’s strange encounters and encourages her to figure out what’s going on, starting with investigating the story of the family she saw . . . and exploring her own past.
But as Abby begins to piece together a history that’s as moving as it is shocking and unravels a long-ago mystery that nearly tore her family apart, she also begins to suspect that Ned’s got secrets of his own, and that his interest may be driven as much by a taste for romance as a love for history.
This was an incredibly clever little mystery set in the Lexington / Concord area of Massachusetts. If you aren’t familiar with this little corner of New England, you really can’t spit without hitting something of historical import. Sheila Connolly cleverly integrates small history lessons, descriptive passages of the area surrounding Boston, and a genealogical search into the story, providing readers with an array of references and visualization options.
Abby is a recent transplant to this area of New England with her boyfriend, Brad, and rather at loose ends without a job, or familiarity with her location. After tiring of Brad’s incessant badgering, she decided to venture out on one of the many historic house tours to pass her afternoon. Her last stop resulted in a curious phenomenon; she was seeing highly charged emotional events that took place nearly 100 years earlier. When she looks for a way to solve this mysterious chain of events, Ned, the witness to her first ‘episode’ becomes advisor and tour guide, and soon trusted friend, providing her with ideas, suggestions and a sounding board for her concerns.
I liked Abby, although I was surprised at her lack of response, at least verbal, to Brad’s behavior. When she started to develop her own interests, and was hired at the museum, her self-esteem got a healthy boost, and she was able to see him for what he was, and walk away. I enjoyed the interplay with Ned, bordering on the flirtatious, and his openness to the paranormal experiences despite his need for some sort of proof.
The story unfolded in a logical way, taking time to outline the steps Abby took in her research, and the reader is able to unfold the clues as Abby does, giving a true sense of traveling the path with her. While the ending did seem to arrive quickly and leave some unanswered questions, fans of history and mystery will truly enjoy this story: and it provides a nice insight into the area and historical treasures to be found there.
I received an eBook from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:
Sheila Connolly began writing mysteries in 2001, and has since been nominated for an Agatha Award twice. Her most recent book is the nationally bestselling Buried in a Bog, the first book in the County Cork Mystery Series. Sheila is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Sour Apples (Orchard Mystery Series) and Fire Engine Dead (Museum Mystery Series). She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and three cats.