Whispers Beyond the Veil
A Change of Fortune Mystery, Book #1
By Jessica Estevao
Author website: http://www.jessiecrockett.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
First in a dazzling new historical mystery series featuring Ruby Proulx, a psychic with a questionable past who suddenly finds her future most uncertain…
Canada, 1898. The only life Ruby Proulx has ever known is that of a nomad, traveling across the country with her snake-oil salesman father. She dreams of taking root somewhere, someday, but, until she can, she makes her way by reading tarot cards. Yet she never imagined her own life would take such a turn…
After one of her father’s medical “miracles” goes deadly wrong, Ruby evades authorities by hiding in the seaside resort town of Old Orchard, Maine, where her estranged Aunt Honoria owns the Hotel Belden, a unique residence that caters to Spiritualists—a place where Ruby should be safe as long as she can keep her dark secret hidden.
But Ruby’s plan begins to crumble after a psychic investigator checks into the hotel and senses Ruby is hiding more than she’s letting on. Now Ruby must do what she can to escape both his attention and Aunt Honoria’s insistence that she has a true gift, before she loses her precious new home and family forever…
To start with, just let me tell you I love Jessica Estevao/Jessie Crockett’s writing no matter if she is writing a cozy mystery or a period fiction novel. Whispers Beyond the Veil is different from her fabulous cozy books, but her story telling talents are just as wonderful. In the first of what promises to be a fantastic new series (A Change of Fortune Mystery), this historical mystery is replete with fascinating characters, settings, intrigue and some paranormal activity as well. Starting out in 1898 Canada, Ruby Proulx is a protagonist that lacks confidence, but has a true will to survive whatever comes her way. Her father forces them to travel as he peddles outlandish cures and medical equipment guaranteed to heal anything. When things go horribly wrong while trying out his latest investment, the pair split up. Her father tells her they have to go their own ways in order to save their hides.
Luckily Ruby has been doing a bit of side work reading cards and has a bit of money saved. She takes all the money she has and gets a ticket to Old Orchard, Maine. There Ruby hopes to entreat upon her Aunt Honoria Belden, her mother’s sister. She knows only that her mother and Honoria are in a photo that she has saved. Her mother has been gone since her birth. When she arrives in town, someone tries to steal her belongings, what little she has. She has been taught from an early age to never trust the police. So when Officer Warren Yancy comes to take her statement, she holds back some information. He is nice enough to help her to her aunt’s hotel. The Hotel Belden is about to have a grand opening to entice Spiritualist. The whole town is full of them. Definitely a change of fortune for Ruby. She is able to take over for a medium that has cancelled last minute. Not that she thinks she is a real medium, but she has always heard voices so maybe they will assist her.
Things get hairy when one of the guests turns out to be the president of the Northeastern Society for Psychical Research and is known as a persistent debunker of the movement and its participants. Leander Stickney ends up dead, so suspicion lands on Ruby, her aunt and the other psychics at the hotel. That could ruin things for the reopening of Honoria’s hotel. It does not help that once friendly Officer Yancy has an entrenched suspicion of them. He especially does not like the friendship Ruby has with his mother and sister. His boss wants him to get to the bottom of the death and the abundance of pickpockets yesterday. Is there more going on than meets the eyes? There an undercurrent making things even more intriguing.
I am a cozy mystery reader through and through. I can honestly say, even the most staid reader will not find things to offend you in this wonderful historical mystery. Whispers Beyond the Veil is an entertaining read that kept me enthralled throughout. Meeting the new characters, visiting a different time, getting to follow Ruby on her journey of self-exploration, all held my attention and pulled me in so I did not want to put this book down. I even enjoy that there are still questions unanswered, I cannot wait for the next book in this fascinating new series. I believe any fan of historical fiction and even cozy mysteries will love this new book and series. It is extremely well written. As I look into the cards, I see Ruby and “A Change of Fortune” series being one of my new favorites. Take a chance and I am sure you will have a bright future ahead at least during the time it takes to read this fabulous journey into the past.