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Formats
Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 05/2019
  • B07RPRFN49
  • 253 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 05/2019
  • 978-1943457342
  • 161 pages
  • $8.95
The Spiritualist Murders: Portia of the Pacific Historical Mysteries Volume 2
Women in 1886 San Francisco are killing their husbands. Attorney detective Clara Foltz uses an eighteen-year-old clairvoyant to track down the mysterious man using the powers of sexual magnetism and mesmerism to turn abused women into murderers. This becomes a family mystery, as Clara’s two oldest children get involved. Clara’s assistant, Ah Toy, must also enlist the help of her evil uncle, Little Pete, because he also uses his paranormal abilities to control his harem of prostitutes in Chinatown. Ah Toy learns how he does it and leads Clara and her family inside the dark, seamy side of how women are controlled for nefarious purposes. But the true confrontation comes when Clara joins together with her attorney friend, Laura de Force Gordon, to question witnesses who testified at the trial of Mrs. Rachel Wilson-Rafferty. They also pay a visit to the wife of the man who began the first Rosicrucian group in America, Dr. Paschal Beverly Randolph. They learn he taught sexual magnetism and the use of hashish and marijuana to help transfix his members in spiritual trances before they had sex with their partners. As the wealthy and abusive husbands are murdered by their wives all over the United States, Clara and her team begin to close in on a variety of suspects. The supernatural climax leads to a final confrontation and the solution to the mystery, inside the Winchester house in San Jose, but not without several twists in the action, which place Clara’s daughter and son in immediate danger. This second, much-awaited mystery in the Portia of the Pacific series shows how women used Spiritualism in order to further their rights as women and wives. In this case, however, women once again become victims of a sexist predator who will risk everything to achieve his misogynistic goals.
Reviews
Amy Shannon's Bookshelf Reviews

Loved this story

This is a powerful story, and it's not something that should be read lightly. I enjoyed the premise of the story, and I read the first book in this series. It's a unique story that mixes paranormal powers with historical settings. I read this book from beginning to end, and I just was so engaged with this story. ""We grow daily beyond our yesterdays and are ever reaching forth for the morrow..." sets the tone for the story, and this reader was definitely engaged. It's a terrifying and interesting trek to figure out the truth behind women murdering their husbands. Full of entrancing mesmerizing intensities and mysteries of the mind, and control over someone else. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

BookLife Prize 2018

Plot: The fast-moving plot consists of many twists, turns, and red herrings that will keep readers invested and surprised. The use of real locations lends an air of authenticity to this work of historical fiction.

Prose: Musgrave’s novel brings to light very relevant social issues of the time while also using language infused with feelings of eerie foreboding that will both thrill and chill readers.

Originality: In some ways, this book will remind readers of classic thrillers like those of Agatha Christie. The simultaneously overlapping and clashing subplots of the suffragette movement and spiritualism make this book even more intriguing.

Character Development: The stand-out element of this novel is the meticulously detailed, intricately crafted cast list. Musgrave’s protagonist is an admirable, intelligent, determined female attorney. Each of the characters in the novel has a distinct and memorable personality

Blurb: A thrilling adventure, perfect for whodunit fans and historical fiction buffs.

Kirkus Review

"In Musgrave’s (Chinawoman’s Chance, 2018, etc.) first installment of his series, he tells the story of a fictional 1884 murder case involving several historical San Franciscans, including Clara Shortridge Foltz, California’s first female lawyer, and Ah Toy, a famous and wealthy Chinatown madam. In this volume, set two years later, Clara, 37, has been living with her brood of children at a Nob Hill mansion with her best friend, Ah Toy, 58, now an affluent art dealer. At a Rosicrucian gathering, Clara meets Adeline Quantrill, a distressed young woman who can hear thoughts from the living and the dead. She’s a disciple of Rosicrucian Dr. Paschal Beverly Randolph, another historical figure, who wrote a banned book on sexual magic. A servant in a prosperous household, Adeline was called as a witness in the trial of Rachel Wilson-Rafferty for killing her abusive husband; the defense hoped her testimony would establish that the wife’s doctor mesmerized her into doing it. The Nob Hill crew investigates further: questioning witnesses (sometimes through Adeline’s clairvoyance), drawing on Ah Toy’s uncle Little Pete (a Chinatown criminal), and learning more about Randolph. Additional cases arise of rich, abusive husbands seemingly murdered by their wives, and clues increasingly point toward wealthy widow Sarah Winchester’s mysterious mansion and a flamboyant spiritualist residing there. Can his nefarious plot be stopped? In this second outing, Musgrave nicely orchestrates historical elements from this heady era, such as the Winchester house and Randolph’s ideas; they’re as strange and compelling as fictive paranormal abilities. The link between the occult and the suffrage movement is a captivating example of how politics makes strange bedfellows, since two of the few venues where women’s voices could be heard were churches and spiritualist meetings: “We support women’s rights under the guise of spiritual communication,” says Clara.

An entertaining mix of fact, fiction, feminism and the occult."

Formats
Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 05/2019
  • B07RPRFN49
  • 253 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 05/2019
  • 978-1943457342
  • 161 pages
  • $8.95

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