cover image Séance in Sepia

Séance in Sepia

Michelle Black. Five Star, $25.95 (324p) ISBN 978-1-4328-2548-5

In Black’s complex, skillfully told stand-alone, Flynn Kiernan finds herself researching the provenance of an unusual “spirit photograph” she purchases at an estate sale. The 1875 photo depicts risqué photographer Medora Lamb with the ghostly images of her husband, Alec Ingersoll, and their good friend, Cameron Langley, who all lived together until Medora and Cam were found dead in their Chicago house. Along with court documents and Cam’s secret diary is the perspective of Victoria Woodhull, real-life feminist, Free Love advocate, and spiritualist, whom Alec, on trial for the murder of Medora and Cam, engages to hold a séance to find out who really killed them. Through the fiery Woodhull, Black (An Uncommon Enemy) shows where the social limits of even the most liberal women of the period might lie. The smooth prose moves subtly between historical and modern investigative voices, leading the reader to muse along with the characters on the nature of how love has changed over the centuries. (Nov.)