Everyone who has discussed books with me for a minute knows my plea: authors need to fill a gaping void of ghostly fiction for adults! Rather than it be an easily buried sidenote; new acquaintances (clearly unwary that asking me to bring attention to that which needs attending is like asking a cat to meow) suggested I more loudly highlight this genre’s void that needs filling. I need to stop you, before you suggest the smattering of ‘cozy mystery’ fare that contains ghosts. First: believe me, I’ve looked. Among the rare few creating excellent paranormal fiction – for adults – is Juliet Blackwell and I am already reading her. Second: I do not want a humorous, or “the ghost is my buddy and is no big deal” context. Series like that of E.J. Copperman and Molly MacRae, the latter liked very much by me for non-paranormal reasons, do not fill my seemingly tall order.
In standard mystery, which is much more about each novel’s principal events than expounding upon cute career themes; I already know about Barbara Michaels. Much more suspenseful and even a little bit eerie; without tipping over into the horror genre. What I want are adventures, not necessarily mysteries; that have emotional, suspenseful, awe-inspiring encounters with spirits. I see so much promise with synopsises like these in children’s literature, it drives me wild with annoyance. Don’t authors suppose that adults believe in spirits and love reading about them? Or that if there were an atmospheric house in our vicinity, we wouldn’t leap at the chance to look around for ancients trails of existence? Some people call it “antiquing” but believe you me, people over 30 want to explore exciting places and mystical possibilities!
How about you, dear readers? What’s your favourite kind of mystery or adventure? Is it a genre that is in ample supply, with your ideal parameters fulfilled? Since there aren’t many protagonists over 30, set off on non-‘cozy mystery’ ghost adventures, here is my second most favourite book wish. I would just love a pure mystery: that’s my kind of mystery. No crimes, no police ruining the wondrous tone of discovery; no stale, uninspired plot “found a body, who killed him?”. If it isn’t a 30 to 40 year-old having the adventure, it can work: as long as focus isn’t squandered on romance, going to school, or parental resistance.
Even some ‘cozy mystery’ authors for adults, like Sofie Kelly and Emily Chase, unfortunately aren’t focused on ensuring mystery drives their novels. We sit through chapters and chapters, watching them at their extracuricular activities, careers, whatever errands they run, and the main flow is constantly interrupted. I also notice too many scenes relegated to coffee-drinking! What I dislike even more are chapters allocated to seondary narratives, which Rebecca M. Hale and Mary Anna Evans do. Perhaps it’s a triple name thing. ;) Humour is fun, if there is no ghostly atmosphere to spoil. As long as there is excellent writing, plotting, and the pace is consistently adventuresome. In Canada, my kind of mystery does exist to a fine degree! Our best are: Howard Engel, Mary Jane Maffini / Victoria Abbott, Gail Bowen, and Eric Wright.
Two days ago, with exception of a haunting element: I did discover my very favourite mystery, containing all of my other ideal parameters! It is a book published exactly one-hundred years ago, by Augusta Huiell Seamn. This is a timely centenary celebration! “The Boarded-Up House” is set in 1905, ahead of its 1915 release, thus characters are plausibly alive to suit historic background stories that are mentioned. I hope you enjoy my review, linked with this book’s title. Please hit the ‘helpful’ button when you get to Amazon.ca, will you? :) I don’t use posts for reviews, worried it disturbs subscribers, signed-up to receive notification of more general articles and personal writings. I store my suite of reveiws in menus at the top of RIEDEL Fascination: Canadian authors and my sum total. I intend to offer a third reference, comprising my five-star reviews.
“The Boarded-Up House” will certainly be among those! Even with protagonists who are young ladies, Cynthia and Joyce: I loved everything about this book. I seldom encounter plots that soar along to an emotional climax, without ‘near-accident’ gimmicks clogging up the story’s flow. Believe me when I praise that you don’t feel the book’s age as you follow these heroines. There is subtle talk of buying expensive candles for 5c and their town is newly-founded but the whole tone could have occurred anytime. A peculiar puzzle drives every page, every scene.
Now, lets let folks know how to find these “mysteries for the sake of mystery”. Some would have you pay hundreds of dollars on-line. Look to thrift stores and second-hand shops instead! Those of us preferring real copies can find them for 25c, whenever shops have them. For those happy with electronic copies, or determined enough to resort to that: some of Augusta’s titles are free! They were deemed valuable literary heritage and were scanned. I have to tell you: this is a mystery I read and read, thought about through the night, and couldn’t wait to continue! Possibly simple in appearance, notice the void it fills by being a straightforward mystery. Thank you, dear Augusta! Happy one-hundredth anniversary!