The Eyes in the Fire<"/>

THE WEAVER AND THE FACTORY MAID

Deborah Grabien, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne $22.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-312-31422-4

A cozy series based on folk ballads with ghosts may be good in theory, but in her mystery debut, Grabien, the author of a couple of mystical fantasies (The Eyes in the Fire ; Plainsong ), offers too little plot and a less than engaging protagonist, the self-centered Ringan Laine. An English musician and architect, Ringan specializes in restoring old houses. After he obtains a life interest in a West Country barn and cottage from a defaulting client, he discovers that the former building is haunted by the ghost of a lovelorn weaver, the latter by the spirit of the girl the weaver loved. The deceased make their presence felt to Ringan and his hearty girlfriend, Penny Wintercraft-Hawkes, who enjoin others to help lay the ghosts to rest. The only mystery here, given away on the back of the galley, doesn't amount to much by conventional crime standards. Handselling to folklore fans and New Agers may help take up the slack left by disappointed mystery readers. Agent, Jennifer Jackson at DMLA. (Dec. 8)

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 12/01/2003
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