Haven’t We Met Before?

“Haven’t We Met Before” from Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark

William Koenig was arrested for attempted murder of a young woman named Emily Winters. He chose her because in past life she was Kate Fallow and wanted to marry his past self Simon Guinness. When Koenig/Guinness refused she ended up murdering her husband, framing Koenig/Guinness and had him hanged.

Y’all know what that mans. Someone is going to end up DEAD!

Koenig tried to get his revenge but was foiled. Now he resides at the Haviland Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He is visited by Westchester County Assistant District Attorney Jack Carroll. Carroll believes that he is responsible for a string of unsolved murders and is trying to get him to confess.

Carroll os also dating Emily and is doubly interested in keeping Koenig behind bars.

Koenig is just baiting the two. He speaks to Carroll and the psychiatrists, but inside has plotted a way to get out and get Emily.

Koenig has murdered before. He won’t admit it to Carroll, he’s a very smart man, but he is responsible for the unsolved murders.

  • Fire in Rosedale that killed an elderly woman eight years ago? In Koenig’s eyes she was a witch from Salem who had him killed.
  • Murder of a cashier at the York Cinema in Mamaroneck five years ago? In Koenig’s eyes he was a 17th century pirate who set him adrift in 1603
  • Jeffrey Lane a real estate broker in Rye? In Koenig’s eyes his younger brother in Glasgow in 1790 who murdered him for the estate.

The time ends and Carroll concentrates on Emily. Emily lives in White Plains, housesitting and waitressing-putting her way through college. She actually had herself regressed and saw that she was Eliza Jackson Southern Belle during the Civil War. Carroll is deeply in love with her, but understands she’s busy and needs her space at times. He calls her, but doesn’t see her as she has a long day and wants to head home.

That night Koenig breaks out-strangles the guard, escapes in the orderly’s outfit, and is out a half hour before they even realize he is gone.

This time he gets to Emily before she can press the panic button to call the police. This time he will have her.

It is the end of the line, or is it? Eliza Jackson just might make an appearance-and she’s one tough Southerner.

Hmm…

Thoughts after Reading:

Was good but I’m not really into past lives mysteries. However, Clark always knows how to tell a tale and does it well.

For more Mary Higgins Clark, go to I’ve Got You Under My Skin

For more stories from Death Wears a Beauty Mask, go to The Man Next Door

For more short stories, go to A Much Expected Murder

The View from Prince Street

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The View from Prince Street (Alexandria #2) by Mary Ellen Taylor

Thoughts Before Reading:

So three years ago I read At the Corner of King Street and loved it. I thought it was amazing. I loved the characters, the plot, the two threads: Sarah Shire-Goodwin, Scottish immigrant settling in the new colony of Virginia; and Addie Morgan, a women trying to distance herself from her family and the disease that destroyed it.

There were family curses, witch’s bottles, recollection, and a spunky sassy historian Margaret who becomes Addie’s partner in salvaging and unraveling the mystery of the witch’s bottles. I really hoped to see more of her in the future; maybe even her own book or series?

Synopsis:

Dr. Rae McDonald is known as having a heart of stone, an ice queen-but others believe she is trying to be a matchmaker for her clients.

Rae has a sad background. Her sister and her were in a car crash, her sister dying. After that Rae made some very bad decisions and ended up pregnant, choosing to give the baby up for adoption.

Since then she has become detached and suppresses all feelings.

Like a robot

Meanwhile, Addie Morgan and Margaret McCrae, from the last book, have taken over the salvaging company. Addie is also raising her niece Carrie. One day they are salvaging an area and discover another witch bottle on Rae’s property.

The book follows a second thread from the 18th century and involved the women from the previous novel and a new one.

Hmm…

Rae’s sister’s best friend, Lisa Smyth, also survived the car crash, but never told the whole truth about it. It turns out there is a link between her and Rae’s family.

Hmm…

The past and the present intertwine and all must come out for them to move forward.

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like it. Rae was so boring and an ice queen. No emotion.

This book was very disappointing to me as it was a real snooze.

I enjoyed all the characters in the first book more.

For more Alexandria mysteries, go to At the Corner of King Street

For more witches, go to Rosemary’s Baby

For more reviews, go to Wolverine Noir

High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

Highroad to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft by Michael Kunze

Thoughts Before Reading:

I had to read this for my class on Early Modern Europe, but didn’t.

I know. Since I couldn’t return it I decided to just hold on to it and read it later.

Plot Synopsis:

This book is the account of the Pappenheimers family. This unit of five-father Paulus; mother Anna; sons Jacob (sometimes called Michel), Gumpprecht, and Hoel (sometimes called Hansel). They were a lower class family that moved around like gypsies.

An arrested thief named them as his conspirators in murdering pregnant women and called them witches. They were arrested and taken to Munich.

There they were tortured and accused of committing over hundreds of thefts and murders, basically any unsolved crime.

Michael Kunze gives a deatailed account of life in the 17th century, and a detailed account of the horror of the witch hunts and trials.

Thoughts After Reading:

I have tried to read this book five times and barely make it out of the first few chapters.

Ugh

It is so dense and I just can’t connect to the work. I’m not sure if it is his style or maybe the translation, but after the fifth time trying to read it; I just kissed it goodbye.

For more nonfiction, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

For more books featuring witches, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

For more books I read for class, go to The Midwife’s Tale

For more book reviews, go to Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

The October Game

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“The October Game” from Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury

*Contains Spoliers*

Thoughts Before Reading:

Long After Midnight is a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury. While most of his work is science fiction, every now and then he writes something we can post on this blog. Originally I was just going to post something tomorrow, but thought hey what the heck! Why not post on Halloween? Espechially as I have one creepy and spooky story for you all.

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Mich wants his wife dead.

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But he doesn’t want to shoot her, it is not the right way to do it. She must be in agony, it must take time.

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It is Halloween night, Mich’s least favorite time of the year.

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That night they are having a Halloween party and his wife, Louisa is getting everything ready from treats to games.

She flits around from room to room always leaving the room that Mich enters. Mich thinks of it as a game, following and asking for things but all the while thinking about killing her.

She finally locks herself in the bathroom and Mich cannot follow.

His daughter Marion approaches him, dressed as a skeleton. To further his anger, Louise had never wanted a child, but became pregnant with a girl. A girl that looked nothing like Mich and only like Louise, growning up following in her ways. And afterwards she could have no more. No child that looks like Mich. No son.

It's not fair.

It’s not fair.

Divorce wouldn’t hurt her,she would be free to marry someone else. No the only thing to really hurt her would be to get rid of Marion!

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That’s it Mich has decided to take her child away from her.

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By 10 the party is winding down. Apples bobbed, the donkey’s tail pinned, the bottle spun, musical chairs completed, etc.

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Mich is in the center of it all, playing along with the kids all the parents commenting on him.

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It was then time to go down to the cellar for the Haunted House.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

Mich has the room pitch black. The witch is dead he says. She has been killed and here is the knife that she was killed with. And passes it around.

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He says the witch is dead and this is her head passing it on.

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One of the kids calls out that they know what this is all about.

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Chicken skin is used for skin, clay mold for the head, grapes for eyes, noodles for innards, etc. They tell him to shush and continue listening.

Mich then says, the witch came to harm  and this is her arm, passing it around. The witch is cut apart this is her heart.

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And on it goes with each item being passed from person to person.

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Some of the kids freak out and call to their parents, with them calming him. Louise calls to Marion, don’t be afraid it is all okay. But Marion doesn’t say anything.

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She’s calls out to her, but still no answer.

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Mich tells her to calm down that all is fine. But Louise continues to call out for her and everyone looking.

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One parent says to turn on the lights, and a boy goes upstairs to look.  Louise cries out while the items stop being passed along the room.

And then someone turns on the light.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So in case you didn’t get it, he killed her. He killed his daughter.

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And passed around her body parts.

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I know, what a psychopath.

It is a creepy story, well-written, and incredibly sad.

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For more mystery reviews, check out The Murder at the Vicarage

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Whatever you do, I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween.

The Witch Hunter’s Tale

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The Witch Hunter’s Tale (A Midwife Mystery #3) by Sam Thomas

Thoughts Before Reading:

With Halloween coming, I decided that I needed to review a spooky story. I thought The Witch Hunter’s Tale would be just the perfect thing.

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So in the last book we saw that there was a lot of upheaval in the city. The parliament men were trying to “reform” the city, Edward was killed, Joseph had become a maniacal tyrant trying to bring his “justice”, and Bridget adopted a murdered prostitute’s daughter, Elizabeth.

Whoa

So many know of the Salem witch hunts, but what most don’t know was that there was a worse event involving witch hunts that occurred in England.

wow

That such time has come now with the cry for witch’s blood and murder abounding in the city.

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Life is hard this winter as the war between the King and Parliament, coupled with an excruciating summer has brought poverty abounding through the streets. In such desperate times it is easy to blame the misfortune on scapegoats; one easy prey being older ladies who are “witches”.

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For a woman who once spent her time alone with her servant Hannah and busy with her clients; her family has increasingly grown. She has her assistant midwife-in-training, Martha; nephew Will, who was cheated out of his inheritance by his brother Joseph; Elizabeth; and Tree, the orphan who resides at the jailhouse.

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As a midwife, one of the charges besides birthing babies is to search for signs of witchcraft on those accused.

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She is luckily saved when someone is announced as having a baby, passing her duty on to Rebecca Hooke, her arch nemesis.

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And to make things worse; the person in charge of the witch hunts is none other than Joseph, the evil brother.

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Martha and Bridget go to see Hester, the accused witch, to figure out why Rebecca and Joseph are teaming up to put her away, but they discover very little. Just more questions.

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The next day, Martha and Bridget sit in on a private meeting of the aldermen, hoping to figure out what their motive are and find a way to stop the two from taking over the city.

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The two present a very charismatic argument to why they must rise up and stop the threat of witches in the city. Much to our groups’ chagrin, they appear to hold the city in the palm of their hands.

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George Breary is trying to help them stop Joseph and Rebecca and asks Bridget to marry him in order to not only protect her, but pull their resoucres. Bridget goes home to think about it, but George is murdered before she can give an answer.

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To make things even steeper, Joseph and Rebecca have arrested over two dozen “witches”, and housed them in the jail.

Not-Good

Soon Bridget’s house and she are threatened, with her running out of time and protection.

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She finds herself doing something she never would expect, teaming up with one she hates in order to destroy Joseph.

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Thoughts After Reading:

This was extremely suspenseful and a real page turner.

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The only thing was that it had some real painful moments and the ending is not what I wanted.

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You better fix it Thomas!!!! I want those two together!!!

From my sister blog: janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

From my sister blog: janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

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For more Midwife Mysteries, go to The Harlot’s Tale

For more on witches, go to At the Corner of King Street

For more historical fiction, go to The Winter People

For more mystery reviews, go to Catering to Nobody

At the Corner of King Street

At the Corner of King Street

At the Corner of King Street by Mary Ellen Taylor

At the Corner of King Street, by Mary Ellen Taylor, follows two threads: Sarah Shire-Goodwin, Scottish immigrant settling in the new colony of Virginia; and Addie Morgan, a women trying to distance herself from her family and the disease that destroyed it.

Addie Morgan’s family is cursed.

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The women in her family tend to carry traits for mental diseases, or “carry the curse” as it has been called for centuries. Addie was lucky enough to be passed over, but both her mother and older sister suffer from being bipolar. Addie has always taken care of everybody, but when her sister causes her to crash her car and nearly kills the two of them, Addie has had enough. She leaves Alexandria, Virginia; the Shire Family Salvage Company; and heads off to anywhere else.

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She finds herself working as a picker in a vineyard, later becoming the bookkeeper, and ultimately second-in-command. Here she feels she finally has a normal life with her job and her boyfriend, the vineyard owner. Everything is going perfect, until she receives a call from her sister Janet, and is sent back into the cyclone of her former life.

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After the car accident, Janet took off leaving her husband and son. Since then she has been doing drugs, drinking, and not taking her medication. She also is pregnant, and when Addie arrives on the scene, Janet has just given birth to a baby girl. Addie hopes that the baby can quickly be found a foster home so that she can return to her new life, but soon discovers that nothing in life is ever that simple.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

While Janet is committed to thirty days of a doctor’s care, Addie stays in Alexandria taking care of the new baby, and the family business. Here she meets up with an old friend, Margaret and the two stumble onto a mystery strife with superstition. In the homes they are salvaging, Addie and Margaret discover three witch bottles, a protective charm from the 18th century made to ward off a supposed witch named Faith. As they look deeper into this, they discover that this mystery is connected to Addie’s distant relative Sarah Goodwin along with the problems in the present. Addie soon finds out that the past is never far behind.

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Thoughts after reading:

I really enjoyed this novel. I liked the way that Mary Ellen Taylor made all of her characters multi-dimensional, just as complicated and interesting as they would be if they existed in real life. First we have the character of Addie who has had to grow up fast, being the one to care for her mother and sister because of their illness. After her mother’s death and her sister nearly killing her, Addie has had enough and wants to get far away in the hopes of having a normal life. When she is called back to the chaos of it all, she at first doesn’t want to help her sister or care for her sister’s baby. Addie is selfish for wanting to live her own life and not care for her family members, but it is a selfishness that has evolved from years of trying to make things better, to only have things fall even more apart. I appreciated that the author was willing to make the character not so saintly or eager to pitch in, but showing the reality of how much of a burden this disease is to the people who have it and for their family members.

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Eventually, Addie does decide to care for her niece and her reintegration into her Aunt Grace’s home, as well as trying to mend the broken relationship between her ex-brother-in-law Zeb and nephew Eric, were extremely well done. While some novels would have quickly had everyone pull together for “the good of the child”, the author had this repairing of familial bonds done slowly. Addie still has feelings of betrayal from her Aunt Grace not rescuing her from her mother’s care and the chaotic life they had lead. She also has a lot of guilt from choosing not to be a part of her nephew’s life and not fully preparing Zeb for the reality of what living with Janet is like. Aunt Grace is angry with Addie for having left her alone to work on the family, but is also angry with herself for not having the courage to mother the girls and remove them from her sister’s care. Zeb has spent many years angry with his ex-wife, but has lived a contented life raising their son. Now he has to deal with his resentment and bitterness at Janet for abandoning their family and once again throwing his world off kilter. Not only does the author make these slow transitions, but not all of these issues are resolved by the end of the book, the family still taking it one step at a time.

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I also loved the secondary character, Margaret, the sassy, free-spirited, historian. She has been working in the family bakery while trying to find another job, and becomes Addie’s partner in salvaging and unraveling the mystery of the witch’s bottles. As a fellow historian, Magaret’s excitement and wit made her extremely endearing and relatable. I hope to see more of her in the future; maybe even her own book or series? Here’s hoping!

Please!

The mystery was done very well. At first I disliked the journal entries from Sarah Goodwin that are placed in front of every chapter, but as the book went on and the lives of Sarah and Faith tied closer and closer to Addie and her family, they became extremely enjoyable. The final conclusion to the mystery and the novel was powerful and led to a perfect ending.

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All in all I really enjoyed this novel, giving it a five out of five star rating.

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I look forward to reading past and future novels of Mary Ellen Taylor and her tales of Alexandria.

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For the previous mystery book review, go to Fatally Frosted 

For more stand-alone mysteries, go to The Dollhouse Murders