In this cosy crime story, Keli Milanni is a very modern lady working as
an attorney in a town practice. She's also a Wiccan or white witch, who
trusts in nature and energy. Therefore she's not pleased to be made to
don a spooky costume and staff a "haunted barn" for a Halloween
festival. To Keli, this season is Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival. And
she's one hundred percent positive that ghosts don't exist.
Edindale, Illinois seems like an ordinary town, but Keli now has a client
on the phone who claims that she's seen a ghost. Maybe the SAMHAIN SECRETS really do include
a thin veil between this world and the spirit world. Why would Keli be
responsible? Well, her law firm dealt with the sale of the house which
Mrs Hammerlin has just bought, and the nervous lady is stating that the
previous owners should have disclosed the presence of a ghost. Keli
thinks maybe she shouldn't have bought a home with a view of the
An interesting character now enters; Josephine O'Malley, Keli's aunt.
She left their Nebraska hometown as a teen and became an
environmental activist, always on the move, and now she promotes
organic farming, sending packets of natural pollinated seeds to
farmers. A contact, Fredeline Paul from Port au Prince, tells Keli that
her aunt was helping women farmers in Haiti but is missing, but as far
as Keli knows, Josephine has always been missing.
This is the fourth Wiccan Wheel Mystery and I previously read Yuletide
Homicide as we work our way through the seasons. In this book we see
the process of identifying a dead person from a morgue photo and
proceed to investigate how good, altruistic people can still make
enemies. There is a glimpse of Voudou but mainly we see two different
ways to look at Halloween and witches -- white candles, doves and
sprigs of herbs, or the Gothic black and warty image of the lazy
stereotype. Pumpkins, fake skulls and cauldrons decorate the shops
and porches, as vegetarian Keli soaks up the atmosphere of misty
October and demonstrates a house cleansing for Mrs Hammerlin. I
enjoyed the topical mystery with more than one kind of crime and a
wide variety of characters. There is also a black cat to entertain
Jennifer David Hesse was born in Illinois and now lives in Chicago, and
she spins a good yarn. SAMHAIN
SECRETS will keep you reading and guessing.
Itâ€™s that haunted time of year, when skeletons come out to play. But
Edindale, Illinois, attorney Keli Milanni discovers it isnâ€™t just restless
spirits who walk the night . . .
After her recent promotion to junior partner, Keli is putting in overtime
to juggle her professional career and private Wiccan spiritual practice.
With Halloween fast approaching, her duties include appearing as a
witch at a â€śhauntedâ€ť barn and hand-holding a client whoâ€™s convinced
her new house is really haunted. But itâ€™s the disappearance of
Josephine Oâ€™Malley that has Keli spooked.
The missing person is Keliâ€™s aunt, an environmental activist and free
spirit who always seemed to embody peace, love, and independence.
When Josephine is found dead in the woods, Keli wonders if her auntâ€™s
activities were as friendly as they seemed. As Keli comes to terms with
her lossâ€”while adjusting to having a live-in boyfriend and new
demands at workâ€”she must wield her one-of-a-kind magic to banish
negative energy if sheâ€™s going to catch a killer this Samhain season.
Because Keli isnâ€™t ready to give up the ghost . . .