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Sunday, May 31, 2015

59) Defending the Dead by Sheila Connolly

The Blurb :

Abby Kimball has slowly accepted her recently discovered ability to see the dead, but none of the harmless sightings she’s experienced could have prepared her for the startling apparition of a centuries-old courtroom scene—where she locks eyes with a wicked and gleeful accuser. Thrown back more than three hundred years, Abby realizes she’s been plunged into a mystery that has fascinated people throughout American history: the Salem witch trials.

With her boyfriend Ned at her side, Abby digs into the history of the events, researching the people and possible causes of that terrible time and her own connection to them—all the while going more deeply into her connection to Ned, both extraordinary and romantic.

As Abby witnesses more fragments from the events in Salem and struggles with the question of how such a nightmare could have come about, she’s suddenly confronted with a pressing personal question: Were one or more of her ancestors among the accused? Unraveling the puzzling clues behind that question just might give Abby and Ned the answer to a very modern mystery of their own.

My Thoughts :

The Relatively Dead Mysteries may be seen, for some readers, as something other than a mystery.  There is no murder victim to be found while doing something cozy and the lead character, Abby, isn't an amateur sleuth.  However I still think this is a mystery and still very cozy.  The cozy aspect is the genealogy and history while the mystery is the who, what and why of the historical ghostly gift that Abby possesses.

This third installment in the series was just as intense and rewarding to read as the first two.  You can expect a lot of historical facts and in-depth research which the author has lovingly put together into a story that you can really get your teeth stuck into.  The Salem Witch Trials are a topic that I, as a non American, don't know an awful lot about but after reading this book I feel like I have learnt something important about history and also been given the chance to explore the different angles the story has.

For some readers this maybe some unpleasant history but when you think about it a lot of the past isn't very nice.  Also this project of Abby's and her quest to see how her gift works would obviously take her along avenues of history that may shock but will also educate.  I have to applaud the author for handling the subject matter with care and making it so informative and readable.

As for the general storyline, I love it. Abby can sometimes be a little over the top in her research and I sometimes wonder how Ned can put up with her but I can also understand why she gets so intense.  I am enjoying their relationship and love how they are fixing up an old house.  In this book there are some nice developments with Ned's mother and daughter.  These extra additions to the puzzle just make the story even more interesting and worth reading.

I hope I get the chance to read more books by this author soon.  I am absolutely hooked on this series and I can't imagine how good her other books must be. The Relatively Dead series leaves me eager to travel to Boston and the surrounding areas where these books are located.  The series also gets me so interested in the topic and location that while reading I am constantly visiting Google maps and wikipedia to find out more.  Not a lot of books manage to get me so engrossed and excited.

If you give this series a go then make sure to start from the beginning.  The on-going story will be ruined and not make much sense if you haven't read books one and two.  Oh and this series is only available in e-format but the Kindle app works on a variety of platforms and the series is really worth it and the books are actually quite cheap compared to others.

*I have a little boohoo to the author.  Sean of the Dead is actually Shaun of the Dead but maybe my review copy hadn't been edited yet but it was available around the release date so I guess this was the finished product.

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