Young spiritualist and suffragette Ruby Proulx (Whispers Beyond the Veil, 2016) investigates a second suspicious death at a resort hotel on the coast of Maine in 1898.
The cause of women’s suffrage and the Victorian fad for the occult join in the personage of Sophronia Foster Eldridge, who’s found the ideal place to rally her cause in Old Orchard. In this charming Maine seaside town, Ruby’s aunt Honoria Belden operates the Belden Hotel, where freethinkers gather to tend their sensitivities to everything from tarot cards to hay fever. Not all the citizens of Old Orchard are so enlightened, however: Sophronia’s march threatens to upstage the opening of a new pleasure pier, incurring the wrath of the chief of police and Congressman Nelson Plaisted. Even more disquieting is the information Sophronia’s spirit guides reveal about the corruption among men in power—corruption that can be dispelled only by full public knowledge and the voices of women in politics. Before Sophronia can publish her manuscript of supernaturally inspired muckraking, she’s found drowned in a bathing pool with rocks in her pockets. The police chief is more than happy to close the case as a suicide, but Ruby knows that Sophronia was too committed to the cause to kill herself. She finds an ally in her best friend’s brother, Officer Warren Yancey, who’s determined to see justice done and who’s more than a little smitten with Ruby. Together they uncover the killer and preserve the good name of the Belden Hotel for another season.
Well-paced and appealingly quirky. The ideal entertainment for the reader’s own restorative visit to the seaside.