When Esme Quentin is engaged to research the history of an ancient mill owned by her client, Anna Brannock, she stumbles upon a bitter family feud, tales of witchcraft and a century-old allegation of murder.
As Esme digs deeper, the past begins to converge on the present, when Anna becomes the target of a disturbing campaign, echoing menacing events from many years before.
Can a 19th century curse still wield its formidable power? What connects Anna with the 24 year-old mystery concerning the whereabouts of the charismatic Ellen Tucker?
Esme must uncover the truth to save Anna from becoming a 21st century victim, in a cruel repetition of her ancestor’s merciless fate.
I welcomed the chance to return to Devon and join Esme Quentin in another historical research project, veiled in mystery and menace. The history of the old mill, which Anna Brannock hopes to refurbish, reveals tales of witchcraft which may connect to the disappearance of Ellen Tucker at Halloween twenty-four years earlier. But the story also links to Anna’s immediate family, revealing divisions within their marriages.
Esme is concerned about the health of Anna, who is expecting her first baby, and she is determined to discover the truth behind the myths. The sources she finds in a local history centre and on the internet, reveal how lucky we are in the UK in the availability of historical information for a determined researcher. But the search darkens after the accidental drowning of a visiting detective and Esme’s friend Maddy begins to wonder about her father’s recent death.
This is a particularly thrilling adventure, difficult to put down, as the past resonates in the present. It is a book to appreciate on many levels, as a delightful description of a lovely part of the west country, as a study of genealogical skills and particularly as an atmospheric murder mystery tale.
The Fear of Ravens on Amazon UK
My Review of The Indelible Stain by Wendy Percival