An Inquiry into Love and Death

Simone St. James. Penguin/NAL, $14 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-451-23925-9
St. James follows The Haunting of Maddy Clare with another chilling story best read in the dark. When her Uncle Toby dies suspiciously after falling from a cliff, Oxford student Jillian Leigh is sent to identify his body in the small English town of Rothewell. Strange things start happening almost at once—the eerie scratching at a second-story window by phantom tree limbs; a book on ghost visitations found hidden in the stove. Toby, it turns out, had fashioned himself a ghost hunter and it appears that Rothewell attracted him for preternatural reasons. When Inspector Drew Merriken of Scotland Yard shows up, believing there’s more to Toby’s death than it appears, he drafts Jillian to help investigate the story of a local ghost who haunts Blood Moon Bay, soliciting advice from a neighboring family and various locals. St. James tells this story in two distinct moods: an immediate, campfire-appropriate tone that will heighten the pulse, and a ruminative mode to parse the mystery behind Toby’s death and the ghost he was after. Overcoming a sometimes uneven narrative, St. James delivers a quickly paced read that will satisfy both new and old fans. Agent: Pamela Hopkins, the Hopkins Literary Associates. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/21/2013
Release date: 03/05/2013
Genre: Fiction
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