USA Today Bestselling Author
Elizabeth Maslow is an educated woman living in the isolated town of 1920’s Mission, Alabama. She’s defied the town’s definition of a woman’s place—she’s unmarried and given birth to a child with webbed hands and feet. In a town fraught with superstitions and religious repression, Elizabeth is dangerous.
But Elizabeth is much more than an unwed mother. Since the birth of Callie, who she believes is fathered by an angel, she’s been able to ̴dream the truth.” And she’s determined to testify in behalf of Slater McEachern, a man charged with the brutal murder of a local woman.
Elizabeth insists McEachern is innocent. She’s determined to speak, no matter the cost.
Spirit detectives Raissa and Reginald arrive to help Elizabeth save McEachern—before she ends up on the gallows with him.
Raissa and Reginald must unravel a crucial question. Does Elizabeth’s gift come from an angel, or from something much, much darker.
In the world of spirits and the dead, Raissa has learned to trust no one, especially not the dead. The dead lie.
NOTE: 100% of all proceeds will be donated to Good Fortune Farm Refuge which will help animals receive medical treatment and loving homes.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book, I was intrigued by it being set in the 1920’s and the main characters being Spirit Detectives. Certainly not a common occupation.
The heat is on right from the beginning of this book, outsiders are not welcome and if they have different beliefs it becomes dangerous.
Raissa and Reginald have come to this backwoods, isolated town at the request of Elizabeth Maslow, she’s become a target in this cultish environment because she is educated, unmarried, the mother to a child who is very different from the norm and she believes a man accused of murder is innocent because she ‘saw’ the truth in a dream. Not exactly the way to become accepted.
This is a favorite scene.
Elizabeth slowly quits swaying. Her eyes open and she looks at us. “That’s the dream. It’s still as vivid as the night I dreamt it.”
“Who is holding the cleaver?” I ask. Her eyes are still distant, as if she’s right there, in the dream. If she tells us who she suspects, perhaps it will help us find evidence to aid Slater McEachern.
“I don’t know. I’m inside his head. I can see everything he sees. I can feel some of his sensations, his emotions. But I can’t see him. I don’t even have a sense of his size, except in relationship to Ruth. He was several inches taller than her. He split her skull with one blow, which tells me he’s strong.”
Elizabeth’s recounting of the murder had chilled me to the bone. She’d been so detached, so calm, as a woman she knew was brutally murdered. Almost as if she felt nothing. But then she looked directly at me and I saw how haunted she was.
“Ruth was dead by the time I dreamed this,” she said. “I woke up that very night, snatched Callie out of bed, and ran to her house. When I got there, the front door was open. I stepped inside and saw that someone had torn her house apart, looking for something. Maybe they found it. Maybe not. I could smell the blood from the doorway. When I saw her, sprawled up against the stove, her back burned into it and her head split open and nearly severed at her neck…” She swallowed and gently rocked Callie. She drew comfort from the baby, as much if not more than she gave. Callie turned her head and watched us with those bright navy blue eyes that were almost black.
“Do you know what the intruder was looking for?” Reginald asked.
“I don’t know. I think it might have been the deed to the land. Ruth didn’t have anything anyone else wanted. That farm was the only thing of value. Both of her children died of a fever a couple of years ago. Not long after that, her husband was killed when a tree fell on him. Ruth was lonely. The killer could have waited. When Ruth died, the land would have gone up for sale. All the time she lived there, she never tried to stop anyone from getting the spring water if they wanted it. Now folks are acting like Mr. McEachern wanted that land because he thought it was valuable, saying the water could heal people.”
“Healing water.” Reginald spoke more to himself than us. “Who’s been healed?”
“Several people claim they were healed by the water. One said her vision cleared. Another claimed the water helped her rheumatism. A little boy had a high fever and drank some of the spring water and his fever broke. The Indians believed the water had healing properties. Sometimes they’ll slip by, filling skins with the water to take back to their villages. They aren’t wanted here in Mission.” A flush touched her cheeks. “No savages, no pagans, no gypsies.”
I recalled the sign with the noose. “What’s the issue with the Romany people?”
“Lucais Wilkins, the man who runs the town, says the gypsies are thieves. He hates them so everyone else follows suit.”
“This Wilkins is the mayor?” Reginald asked.
Elizabeth only laughed. “There is no mayor of Mission. The town is run by a board of governors appointed by the church. Lucais is the head of that board and the man who has enough money to buy his way whenever he wants. He hires the law officers. He sits as judge on trials. He runs everything.”
Mission wasn’t the only town that was controlled by a single person or even a handful of wealthy people. “What church is it?”
“Everyone in town is a member of the Blood of the Lamb Reformed Church. It’s an offshoot of the Protestant faith, but nothing like the Methodists or Baptists.”
Elizabeth was very well-spoken and apparently well educated. She was an outsider looking in on the town, but an outsider with a larger worldview.
“Where did you come from, Elizabeth?” I asked again.
The question made her sigh. “It doesn’t matter. I’ve always been a vagabond.”
Oh, but it did matter. It mattered a lot. “Why Mission, Alabama? You could have gone anywhere. You’re educated. You could have worked as a secretary or maybe a clerk for a town. Maybe a lawyer’s secretary. Why here, where there is no work for you?”
“I was directed here.”
“By whom?” I asked.
“By the Divine.” She smiled at my expression. “I’m not an emissary of God or some kind of pagan priestess. I just know that my being here is not an accident. Nor is the gift of the dreams. It’s all toward a greater power.”
The baby was watching her with rapt attention, as if she understood the ramifications of what Elizabeth claimed.
“God sent you here?”
She shrugged. “I wouldn’t have said God, but that’s close enough.”
“What would you have—” Reginald’s hand on my shoulder stopped me.
Reginald was kind but firm. “We came here to help you, and we came without the expectation of pay. What we do expect is your honesty. You’re risking a lot for a man you say you don’t have any bond with. He’s not a relative or a lover or a business associate. So why does this feel so important to you? We need to know what’s going on.”
Elizabeth looked down at the ground for a moment. “Yes, I owe you that much. I suspect you’re guessed some of it anyway.” She faced us. “I’m Romany. I came to Mission looking for my brother. He came this way to sell pots and pans, and the last account of him was in this area. That was more than two years ago.”
Carolyn Haines. ARC Edition of: A Visitation of Angels: Pluto’s Snitch #4 (Kindle Locations 431-474). Good Fortune Farm Refuge.
As Raissa and Reginald start their investigating there is more than a little intimidation in the form of being followed everywhere they go. This makes saving a man convicted of a crime he didn’t commit even more difficult. Elizabeth herself is in the path of danger and just keeps putting herself out there.
Then there is that dark entity, one that Elizabeth claims is an Angel. That is more than just a little scary at least to me.
This book had my on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next, it was scary, intriguing, emotional and tearful.
I really have to go back to the beginning of this series, I think I’m hooked.
5 Contented Purrs for Carolyn!
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Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of over 70 books. She was the recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence, as well as the “Best Amateur Sleuth” award by Romantic Times. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of.