There's no better mystery author to discuss on Halloween for Friday's "Forgotten" books than Elena Santangelo. Santangelo does a wonderful job combining mystery, history, and ghosts in her Pat Montella series.
The first book in the series, By Blood Possessed, introduced Pat Montella, who received a letter saying she could be the heir to the historic Bell Run estate in Fredricksburg, Virginia. She jumps at the chance to stay at the Civil War estate, and meet the owner, 91-year-old Miss Magnolia Shelby. As Miss Maggie shows Pat around the estate she might inherit, Pat experiences blackouts, and "sees" events in May 1864, when the Confederate army was preparing for battle on the land. Pat's connection with the estate, and the past, are fascinating.
By Blood Possessed was originally published in 1999, and was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel that year. However, it was two years until the next one in the series, Hang My Head and Cry came out. Pat thought her visions had ended, but, in this second book, she begins to "see" Reconstruction-era Virginia through the eyes of the ten-year-old son of a slave. Soon, the past and present events are linked in a dangerous mystery.
But, it was five more years until the last book, Poison to Purge Melancholy. It's an intriguing family mystery, in which Pat encounters ghosts at Christmastime in historic Williamsburg.
I do think the time between books in this ghostly historic mystery series does make a difference. It might be part of the reason that Elena Santangelo and her Pat Montella books are not as well-known as they should be. They're all still in print, though, so you still have time to discover these "Forgotten" books.
Elena Santangelo's website is www.elenasantangelo.com
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