Murder by Syllabub
by Kathleen Delaney
on Tour September – October, 2013
A ghost in Colonial dress has been wreaking havoc at an old plantation house in Virginia. The house is owned by Elizabeth Smithwood, the best friend of Ellen McKenzie’s Aunt Mary. Mary is determined to fly to the rescue, and Ellen has no choice but to leave her real estate business and new husband to accompany her. Who else will keep the old girl out of trouble? When Ellen and Aunt Mary arrive, they find that Elizabeth’s “house” comprises three sprawling buildings containing all manner of secret entrances and passages, not to mention slave cabins. But who owns what and who owned whom? After Monty—the so-called ghost and stepson of Elizabeth’s dead husband—turns up dead in Elizabeth’s house, suspicion falls on her. Especially when the cause of death is a poisoned glass of syllabub taken from a batch of the sweet, creamy after-dinner drink sitting in Elizabeth’s refrigerator. Monty had enemies to spare. Why was he roaming the old house? What was he searching for? To find the truth, Ellen and her Aunt Mary will have to do much more than rummage through stacks of old crates; they will have to expose two hundred years of grudges and vendettas. The spirits they disturb are far deadlier than the one who brought them to Virginia. Murder by Syllabub is the fifth book of the Ellen McKenzie Mystery series.
Read an excerpt:
Kathleen Delaney has written four previous Ellen McKenzie Real Estate mysteries, but has never before transported her characters out of California. A number of years ago she visited Colonial Williamsburg and fell in love. Long fascinated with our country’s history, especially the formation years, she knew she wanted to set a story there. Another trip with her brother and sister-in-law solidified the idea that had been rolling around in her head but she needed more information. A phone call to the nice people at Colonial Williamsburg provided her with appointments to visit the kitchen at the Payton Randolph house, where she got her first lesson in hearth cooking and a meeting with the people who manage the almost extinct animal breeds the foundation is working to preserve. A number of books purchased at the wonderful bookstore at the visitor’s center gave her the additional information she needed and the story that was to become Murder by Syllabub came into being. Kathleen lived most of her life in California but now resides in Georgia. She is close to many historical sites, which she has eagerly visited, not only as research for this book but because the east is rich in monuments to the history of our country. Luckily, her grandchildren are more than willing to accompany her on their tours of exploration. You can find Kathleen on the Web at delaney.camelpress.com.
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Reader review . . .
When Ellen’s Aunt Mary receives a call from her old friend Elizabeth claiming to have seen a ghost in the family plantation, the two women fly to Virginia to her aid. When the “ghost” turns up dead, apparently poisoned by a glass of syllabub, Ellen and Aunt Mary must find who, besides Elizabeth, had motive and opportunity.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would have been like to have lived in Colonial times, you need to pick up a copy of Kathleen Delaney’s fifth installment in her Ellen McKenzie Mystery series. This story is set on a historic plantation outside Colonial Williamsburg and features glimpses of the living history of the area. Among other things, I finally learned what syllabub is. Seriously; I’ve always wondered and now I know. It sounds delicious, by the way.
The view of race relations in present-day Virginia was interesting. The past has been romanticized and commercialized, but to descendants of the slaves of that era, the sins of the fathers still resonate. This is portrayed in the characters of Noah and his mother, Mildred.
Although this is the fifth novel of the series, it works well as a stand-alone. For history buffs or cozy mystery fans, this is a well-written novel with plenty of historical and regional interest.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Partners In Crime Book Tours reviewers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”