Written by Sheila Connolly — Back in January, we reviewed, Reunion with Death, by this New York Times Bestselling author, and our reviewer particularly enjoyed its descriptive settings, meanderings into the world of art history, and its gentle, engaging writing style. Her latest cosy mystery, which was released in September by ebook publisher Beyond The Page, is the second book in the Relatively Dead series featuring heroine Abby Kimball. Seeing the Dead picks up Abby’s story six months after the events in Relatively Dead, where we now find her settling into her temporary home in Concord, Massachusetts, and new job at the town’s museum. She’s also trying to rationalise her newly acquired ability to see the dead.
Her ability to see the ghosts of deceased members of her own family is in fact the main focus of this mystery. It’s a gift she shares with her newboyfriend, Ned Newhall, who also featured in the earlier book. However, the mystery Abby now finds herself facing is two-fold, as the town prepares for its annual Patriot’s Day holiday, marking the famous battle in the area during the Civil War. Abby once again finds herself seeing ghosts of past ancestors, but this time Ned isn’t seeing all the same ones. As if that wasn’t freaky enough, she discovers that Ellie, the daughter of her boss Leslie, has the same gift, but neither of her parents have.
Abby finds herself utilising her family history research skills to discover the identities of this latest batch of ghosts. It finds her visiting the town’s archive, wandering around battle sites and cemeteries, and generally unearthing facts that make her unpopular with her boss, and put her job on the line. At the same time, she’s struggling to settle into the new relationship and some surprising revelations about Ned, some of which could be key to the mystery. How are Abby, Ned and Ellie connected?
This is a cosy mystery where everything rests on historical research. Abby has to turn detective on her own family’s past, so it’s a very different style of mystery series. It’s genealogical mystery with an added dash of the paranormal. The dynamic between Abby and Ned works well. However this is very much Abby’s story, and focuses on her need to discover the truth and her determination to succeed, particularly when her findings appear to affect her friend and boss, Leslie – turning his world upside down.
Seeing the Dead is an engaging story that’s easy to become absorbed in. Although it’s the second book in the series, it’s not a disadvantage to ome to it not having read the first book, as you’re quickly brought up to speed with all the salient points that you need to know. The story ambles a long at a gentle, pleasing pace, but leaves you with a watch this space ending, which some readers may find a tad frustrating, whilst others will be chomping at the bit for the next instalment.
Beyond The Page
CFL Rating: 4 Stars