Haunted Ballads - Book 3
When folklorist, musician and expert property restorer Ringan Laine receives
an invitation for himself and his band, Broomfield Hill, to play at the
exclusive and prestigious Callowen House festival in the English countryside,
he accepts without hesitation. Not only does the coveted invitation-only
concert mean an enormous paycheque and a stay at one of Britain's more
famous haunted houses, Ringan's invitation is extended to his longtime
girlfriend, theatrical producer Penelope Wintercraft-Hawkes, as well.
After two close encounters with ghosts, the couple (and the other members
of Broomfield Hill) are looking forward to a stay in a house they already
know to be haunted. No exorcism will be required of them this time. Callowen
House is not only haunted, the home's eccentric music-loving owner, Lord
Callowen, is quite proud of his phantom, with no desire to lose it.
But they haven't passed two nights of their two-week stay before Jane
Castle, Broomfield Hill's flautist and vocalist, becomes uncomfortably
aware that there may be more than one spirit moving through doors and
walls at Callowen House. A spirit that lay dormant for five centuries
has been awakened by the sensitive Penny's presence, and held there by
Jane Castle: the spirit of a serving man, killed by Callowen's original
owner, Lord Arnold Callowen, for the crime of lusting after Arnold's beautiful
young wife, the Lady Susanna. And Jane Castle, daughter of a long line
of healers, midwives and witches, bears an uncanny resemblance to the
famous portrait of that long-dead wife.
It will take all Broomfield Hill's musical knowledge and expertise,
and all of Penny's intuitive ghostly understanding, to rid Callowen House
of its unwelcome guest, while leaving its original ghost intact.
Matty Groves is the third novel in the Ringan
"In Grabien's third tale of ghostly detection (after 2004's The
Flower of Serving Men ), her most chillingly effective performance
to date, folk singer Ringan Laine and his group, Broomfield Hill, have
been invited to perform at the prestigious Callowen Arts Festival at
Callowen House in Hampshire, England. Accompanied by his longtime lover,
actress Penelope Wintercraft-Hawkes, Ringan sets off in high spirits,
but quickly strange things begin to happen. Jane Castle, vocalist and
flautist for the group, has unsettling nightmares in her bedroom, while
Penny and Ringan are deeply disturbed by some ghostly presence in theirs.
Penny, Ringan and the others embark on a desperate race to uncover the
truth about a vicious and malevolent ghost that haunts Callowen House.
As in previous entries, a folk song, "Matty Groves," provides
clues. Grabien ratchets up the suspense steadily and implacably, and
the resolution is deeply satisfying. Fans of Barbara Michaels's classic
ghostly suspense stories will enjoy this immensely. Agent, Jennifer
Jackson at DMLA . (Oct.)"
-Publishers Weekly (***Starred
"Ringan Laine, leader of the British band Broomfield Hill, is thrilled
to be invited to perform at the prestigious Callowen House Arts Festival.
He has second thoughts when he learns that the house is haunted. He
and his lover, Penny Wintercraft-Hawkes, have dealt with ghosts on two
previous occasions, and they do not want to meet any more. Miles Leight-Arnold,
the festival's patron, is proud of his family ghost, boasting that Winston
Churchill met the spirit. When Ringan and his colleagues arrive at the
estate, they discover another evil ghost lurking there. This one seeks
revenge for a lost lover who happens to resemble Jane Castle, the ensemble's
flautist. Ringan, Penny, and the band have their hands full trying to
sort out the events that led to the haunting. Grabien (The
Famous Flower of Serving Men, 2004) weaves folklore, history, and
mystery into an intriguing tale with supernatural overtones. Readers
who enjoy a good ghost story will find this one most satisfying."
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