One ghost, one murder, one hundred years apart. But are they connected?
Ella has discovered a secret room in The Yellow Cottage, but with it comes a ghost. Who was she? And how did she die? Ella needs to find the answers before either of them can find peace. But suddenly things take a nasty turn for the worse.
Ella Bridges has been living on Linhay Island for several months but still hasn’t discovered the identity of her ghostly guest. Deciding to research the history of her cottage for clues she finds it is connected to Arundel Hall, the large Manor House on the bluff, and when an invitation to dinner arrives realises it is the perfect opportunity to discover more.
However the evening takes a shocking turn when one of their party is murdered. Is The Curse of Arundel Hall once again rearing its ugly head, or is there a simpler explanation?
Ella suddenly finds herself involved in two mysteries at once, and again joins forces with Scotland Yard’s Police Commissioner to try and catch a killer. But will they succeed?
I am always on the lookout for something different and unusual to read, and The Curse of Arundel Hall was not disappointing. A well-written murder mystery set in the 1930s, transporting you back to another time with the old-fashioned language and way of life.
The main character, Isobella Bridges, or Ella, reminds me of the Agatha Christie heroines, although this particular lady is not an old spinster. Young and adventurous, life has not been kind and moving to the fairy tale cottage on Linhay Island was supposed to be a retreat from the world.
After a slow, scene-setting start, Ella discovers that a ghost of a woman haunts the cottage. Undaunted, it turns out she has a flair for such things and sets out to solve the mystery. She finds the skeletal remains of the woman hidden behind a secret panel. A murder soon follows, linking Ella’s cottage to nearby Arundel Hall, the subject of an ancient curse.
She discovers that Arundel Hall has been plagued with bad luck ever since the eleventh Duke of Norfolk built it for his wife Marion who sadly died in childbirth. The next wife went insane, and the third wife nearly drove him to murder, but she vanished, never to be seen again. Shortly after that, the Duke sold the Hall, cursing it as he left.
I really liked Ella, cheerfully determined to get on with her life and solve every problem that life throws at her, something that comes in handy in this adventure, as she figures out how to open various secret passages and hidden rooms.
This story is filled to the brim with exquisite detail and old-fashioned scenarios. The dialogue between the characters is amazing, the vocabulary perfect for the period. I loved the paranormal twist to the story, just enough to give the story an extra depth – although personally, I would have liked more.
I would defy anyone to try to guess who the murderer is, or why it happened. Just when you think you have figured it out, you are led to another possibility.
The “Spartacus” moment towards the end of the book (I won’t add any spoilers) was hilarious and the classic cliff-hanger had me yearning for the next book, but I will read the first book in this series while I am waiting.
Definitely, worth all of five stars…
About the Author
J. New is the British author of paranormal cosy mysteries, murder mysteries and magical YA with a hint of romance. A voracious reader and writer all her life, she took her first foray into Indie publishing in 2013, and has never looked back.
She has an eclectic reading taste, ranging from the Magic of Terry Pratchett, JK Rowling, Tolkien and Neil Gaiman, to Dean Koontz, Eion Colfer, Anne Rice and Agatha Christie. A lover of murder mysteries set in past times, where steam trains, afternoon tea and house staff abound. She is convinced she was born in the wrong era as she has a particular aversion to cooking and housework.
She also has an impossible bucket list, which includes travelling on the Orient Express with Hercule Poirot, shopping in Diagon Alley with Sirius Black, lazing around the Shire with Gandalf and Bilbo, exploring Pico Mundo with Odd Thomas and having Tea at the Ritz with Miss Marple.
Funds from the sale of her books go towards her dog rescue effort.