Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Face Down O'er the Border by Kathy Lynn Emerson

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Face Down O'er the Border by Kathy Lynn Emerson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Face Down O'er the Border by Kathy Lynn Emerson

Face Down O'er the Border by
A Lady Appleton Mystery

Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-880284-91-X (188028491X)
ISBN-13: 978-1-880284-91-9 (9781880284919)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When Catherine, Lady Glenelg, is accused of murdering her mother-in-law, Susanna must travel o'er the border to discover who really committed the crime.

Review: Kathy Lynn Emerson contrasts the gripping events of political unrest in 1577 Scotland with a seemingly simple domestic crime in Face Down O'er the Border, the 10th mystery in the Susanna, Lady Appleton series.

Jean Ferguson, Lady Russell, daughter of the seventh baron Glenelg, and her daughter-in-law, Catherine Russell, alone in their home, were assumed to been having an argument at the top of the spiral staircase. The house staff was out on errands and there were no witnesses to what happened next. When found later at the bottom of the stairs, Jean had blood and skin under her fingernails and Catherine’s face was scratched. Both women appeared to be unconscious. Annabel MacReynolds, an old friend of Catherine’s found them. Catherine was indeed unconscious, but Jean was dead. When it became apparent that Catherine was going to be accused and arrested for Jean’s death, Annabel insisted Catherine leave Glenelg House, and hide out as a maid servant in other houses until Susanna, Lady Appleton, a dear friend and amateur sleuth, could come and try to solve the crime.

As a historical mystery, Emerson includes real people who lived and ruled in Scotland during the time this mystery was set. Some of these people may factor into the death of Lady Russell. Was her death an accident? Was she killed intentionally by her daughter-in-law? Or was she somehow involved in the political unrest in Scotland and someone else was the killer? Though Catherine has suffered a memory loss for the time period, during, and just after the fall, Susanna does not believe she killed Lady Russell who appears to have died as a result of strangulation, not the fall. It takes all of Susanna’s wit and cunning to find the answers to where Catherine has disappeared to, and just who killed Jean Ferguson and why.

This very interesting story involves more than just the murder and subsequent investigation. Historical details such has how people dressed, how they managed their homes, and even how their horses are treated are included. The whodunit aspect is also well done, the result being an exciting mystery until the very end.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Face Down O'er the Border and to Perseverance Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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