High Marks for Murder
Berkley, Jun 2008, $6.99
In 1965 in the remote English village of Grickling Green in the Cotswolds, the suffragette movement has caught the interest of the ladies enrolled in Bellehaven Finishing School. The Headmistress Meredith Llewellyn is in St. Edmunds’ church when she sees an evanescent image that coalesces into a female ghost. She becomes worried because home management teacher Kathleen Duncan is not attending the services and she never misses them.
When she leaves the church, Tom the gardener is visibly upset and takes Meredith and the other instructors to the body of Kathleen. Besides the corpse is a broken branch that was sawed off. It has blood on it so Meredith knows that her friend was murdered. As Kathleen keeps appearing Meredith vows to find her killer, but she does not understand the clues the ghost is presenting to her. Unless she can interpret what Kathleen is communicating to her when the ghost points at flowers, the killer will remain free.
This is a very atmospheric paranormal amateur sleuth historical mystery. The school building, the storms, and the darkness surrounding Bellehaven contribute a gothic feel to Rebecca Kent’s fine tale. Meredith is a strong willed person who in some ways a futuristic anachronism as she ignores the rules of society that insist she find a wealthy husband. She is the only one who sees the apparition so her staff insists she is overwrought and imagining things. Readers will give high marks to Ms. Kent for an interesting creative whodunit.