Cold Case meets Ghost Whisperer in Camalliere’s debut mystery.
A capricious spirit, a mysterious wolf, and a 100-year-old unsolved triple homicide lead Cora Tozzi on a journey to uncover the history of Sag Bridge. Lemont, the tiny village, nowadays melded into the Chicago suburb where Cora and her husband, Cisco, live, was a hub of activity in the late 1800s during the building of canals that would link the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. Retired, Cora devotes her time to the library, the historical society, a book club, and other assorted committees. She also hides a secret. Throughout her life, one that she herself describes as quite fortunate, Cora has had the sense that some sort of supernatural entity has been watching over her. A door closing unexpectedly, a paper clip flying across the room, all signaled the presence of “something.” Cora began calling this presence “Angel.” But lately, the previously playful Angel has been gaining strength and exhibiting some dangerously angry behavior. Is Angel responsible for the bizarre accident that left a hostile member of Cora’s book club fighting for her life? Is she demanding something specific from Cora? And why did Angel attach herself to Cora in the first place? In her search for answers, Cora learns of the century-old murder of a young couple and their newborn baby girl. In 1898, the bludgeoned bodies of Meg and Packey Hennessey were discovered in the graveyard of Saint James Catholic Church, their newborn lying atop Meg with her umbilical cord still attached. Nobody was ever charged for the crime. Camalliere peppers her narrative with well-drawn depictions of life in turn-of-the-last-century Sag Bridge, and her characters are rather charming. Readers, however, will figure out some of the answers before the protagonists do, which makes it difficult to wait patiently while they engage in lengthy debates about the viability of one theory or another. Fortunately, there are a few surprises left for the very end.
A lively twist on the historical fiction genre by a promising author.