Andy Gammon, a former Detroit social studies teacher living in (but not always fitting into) a quaint New England town with her Yankee husband and two children, can't help getting involved whenever history meets mystery. Add in a couple of prime specimens of 19th century architecture-Andy's other passion-and she can't resist sneaking through back hallways of a Victorian grand hotel and crawling through the underground tunnels of a derelict Gothic insane asylum as she seeks answers to why a woman was killed at the Grand Hotel of the Atlantic on the night of the reopening gala, why another woman disappeared from that same room a century ago, and what connection may exist between the two.
They Danced by the Light of the Moon is Tempa Pagel’s second book in the Andy Gammon series. If you enjoyed Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple, you will love this one. The story, brimming with haunting intrigue, memorable characters, and a wealth of expressive detail, travels back and forth between the familiar, modern world and an early 20th Century coastal New England brought uniquely to life.
Pagel takes the reader back to 1901 when Marguerite Miller, torn between family duty and a keen desire for independence, is sneaking out of her room in an elite New Hampshire hotel. A quick shift to the present sees Andy attending the grand re-opening of the hotel over a hundred years later. Echoes of Marguerite’s legendary disappearance begin to haunt Andy, a onetime social studies teacher and now frequent sleuth, and her mother-in-law sidekick. In no time these two stumble onto a murder that takes place in the very room from which Marguerite disappeared. Too much of a coincidence? The sleuthing duo thinks so – and quickly become haunted by the past and its now disputed cultural beliefs, as they struggle to understand its imprint on the present day murder. The plot is stimulating; the writing, perky and well-paced in the present, is almost dream-like in the past making for enigmatic transitions. Pagel effectively weaves the mysterious past with an old fashioned, present day whodunit for a very satisfying read as perfect for a dreary winter day as it is for a visit to the beach.
This review is by my mother. I read Here's the Church, Here's the Steeple, a number of years ago and enjoyed it.
"The scent of Lady Frederick's perfume lingered behind her, as pungent as crushed frangipani petals, in the confined cabin. Shaking his head to clear it, like a sleepwalker slapping himself into wakefulness, Alex forced his attention to his writing desk..."
Page 56 of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily. This is book 6 in one of my favorite series, they don't have to be read together.