As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Saphere
Books, 14 May 2019. ISBN: 978-1-91302841-1(PB) ASIN: B07Q3YMV6C
since Mina Scarletti’s mother was one of many bereaved people who were the
victims of a dishonest medium, Mina has gained a reputation as a person who is
skilled in discovering the truth and exposing those who profit from deceiving
vulnerable mourners. Mina has not got a closed mind, nor does she reject
religion and the hope of an afterlife, but she is a practical person who will
not accept that strange events have a supernatural origins until she has explored
all other explanations. Ironically, Mina herself writes exciting stories of
ghostly apparitions and mysterious happenings, although most of her family
believe she gets a modest extra income from writing moral stories for children.
Mina’s life is not easy, as she suffers
from scoliosis and is regarded with pity and embarrassment by those who do not
know her. Those who become better acquainted with her discover the sharp mind,
strong nerves and indomitable spirit that overcome the problems caused by her physical
frailty. Thanks to the massage and exercise regime provided by her friends, Dr
Hamid and his sister Anna, Mina is far stronger and more physically resilient
than she has ever been before. This means that she feels able to undertake a
journey in winter into rural Sussex when she receives an invitation that is
also an appeal for help.
Mr Honeyacre had first encountered Mina
in Brighton, when he was mourning for his dead wife and had been drawn into the
activities of certain spiritualists. He emerged from the events with a great
deal of respect for Mina and also with a second wife, Kitty, a lady much
younger than himself, a contortionist who had been a popular entertainer on the
stage. Mr Honeyacre still retains his belief in the supernatural and, when he
discovers the country house is haunted, he invites Mina to visit him and
discover the truth behind the strange happenings. Mina, accompanied by Dr Hamid
and her friend, Nellie Jordan, agrees to go and stay at Hollow House.
The first thing Mina sees, within
minutes of arriving at Hollow House, is a glimpse of a woman in white looking
out of a window, but when she looks again the figure has disappeared. When Mina
enquiries about the room she is told that it is kept locked because Mr
Honeyacre is storing precious antiques in there. However, the room also
contains some old toys that belonged to a family that lived in the house some
time ago. One of the toys is an old rocking horse, and this is often heard
creaking, as if someone is riding on it. As many strange happenings occur, Mina
begins to wonder whether this is not a trick and ghosts really do exist.
Mina is still attempting to discover
the truth about what is happening in Hollow House when, to her dismay, an old
enemy arrives. This is a persuasive and influential man who has staked his
reputation on his belief in ghosts and on the powers of mediums. A few months
previously, he had an encounter with Mina and was vanquished, but this has made
him even more eager to convert Mina or destroy her. Mina wishes to leave Hollow
House but violent December storms result in floods and Mina finds herself
trapped in an isolated country house with strange supernatural manifestations
and an arrogant man who will stop at nothing to destroy her reputation.
The Ghost of Hollow House is set in
1871 and it is the fourth book featuring Mina Scarletti. Mina is a
strong-minded, courageous and intelligent protagonist, with whom it is easy to
empathise, and she is surrounded by unconventional but likeable supporters. The
plot is intriguing and the historical background is immaculate, not merely in
factual details but also in capturing the spirit of the mid-Victorian era, when
a woman who dared to stand up to powerful men could find herself in danger of
being declared insane. The Ghost of Hollow House is a fascinating book, which I
Reviewer: Carol Westron
Linda Stratmann was born in Leicester in 1948 and first started
scribbling stories and poems at the age of six. She became interested in true
crime when watching Edgar Lustgarten on TV in the 1950s. Linda attended
Wyggeston Girls Grammar School, trained to be a chemist’s dispenser, and later
studied at Newcastle University where she obtained a first in Psychology. She
then spent 27 years in the civil service before leaving to devote her time to
writing. Linda loves spending time in libraries and archives and really enjoys
giving talks on her subject.
Carol Westronis a successful short story writer and a Creative
Writing teacher.She is the moderator
for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.Her crime novels are set both in contemporary
and Victorian times.The Terminal Velocity of Cats the first in her Scene of Crimes novels,
was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To
read the interview click on the link below.