ATTENTION WRITERS - Here is your chance to share your work. Send us your short stories to be published on-line. Click here for details Don't Delay


February 17

in Reel Talk

February 15
New reviews in
The Book Nook,
Illustrated Corner and
Voices From the Past

February 1, 2018
Updated Convention Listings and
Rocky Horror Picture Show

January 23

in Reel Talk

Book Pick
of the Month

January 15
New reviews in
The Book Nook,
Illustrated Corner
Odds and Ends and
Voices From the Past

January 1, 2018
Updated Convention Listings and
Rocky Horror Picture Show

Previous Updates


Haunting Investigation
by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Smoke & Shadow Books, $27.99, 325pp
Published: December 2015

I am a huge fan of Ms. Yarbro’s vampire series about St. Germain. And I was so looking forward to seeing a new mystery from her. This series is based on a ghost character – one Chesterton Holte who died as a British spy during WWI. But, at the time of his capture by the Germans, he caused the unnecessary death of an American journalist. As he died with regret in his heart, he was unable to move out of limbo. His unfinished business with the living keeping him bound to this plane of existence. Until he can vanquish the guilt, he cannot move on. So four years later, he decides to haunt one of the children of the dead journalist and he picks the daughter – Poppy Thornton, an aspiring journalist herself - in order to help her and make reparations for causing her father to die.

Poppy has been going mad with boredom writing society columns and longs to be an investigative reporter. She gets an opportunity when a member of high society dies, an apparent suicide. Since Poppy’s family is high society, the newspaper editor hopes that her personal connections may gain them some insight and a good story. Poppy is perfectly willing to use her connections to get some indepth reactions from the family. What she finds, though, is evidence that it may not have been a suicide. Since all those involved are much more willing to confide in her than a lower-class newspaper reporter, her editor keeps her on the job. (The gentle reader needs to appreciate the times while reading this story. The Great War had just ended, women had just been granted suffrage but there was still a huge disparity in the classes. There were attitudes and mores of society that will seem alien to our current worldview.)

Chesterton makes himself known to Poppy who, on the whole, takes his existence with certain aplomb. Since Chesterton can move about, listening to conversations unseen, he provides a wealth of information to Poppy. He is also able to contact and communicate with the deceased; however, they aren’t often able to remember all the details of their life much less their death. Poppy, however, has to figure out how to use the information if she cannot find a more believable source to verify.

As bodies start to mount up, with hints of previous murders linked to this one, and the unwanted suspicion that Poppy develops for her cousin’s involvement, it’s all the girl can do to keep her wits about her – even with the ghost’s advice and the attentions of the investigating detective.

Ms. Yarbro has certainly captured a most singular voice for this story and Poppy; I can definitely say that I would not enjoy being an ambitious woman in the 1920s, it was hard. Both Ms. Yarbro and Poppy are quite methodical and it’s entertaining watching her work the case. Poppy is an engaging character although the secondary characters were not as developed as I would like – maybe more in the next book. But…I was unhappy with the ending. There was little resolution or even the indication that resolution might be coming in a sequel. It felt rather abrupt and unfinished. I recommend it with reservations; I’ll watch for the next book and decide more then. ~~ Catherine Book

Follow us

for notices on new content and events.

to The Nameless Zine,
a publication of WesternSFA

Our Columns:

The Book Nook
Reviews of the latest in science fiction and fantasy

The Illustrated Corner
Reviews of the latest in Manga and Graphic Novels

Odds and Ends
Reviews of non-genre items our staff enjoyed
(Can be books, movies, TV shows or music)

Voices from the Past
Reviews of genre books from the past (at least 20 years old)
and those which are Out of Print but still wonderful to read

A Chat with
Interviews with people of interest
Current Interview: Brandon Sanderson

Author Appearance & News
This page lists author signings and appearances, convention news
and any other events we think might interest our readers.

Reel Talk
Reviews of current genre movies in the theater
and favorite and new DVD releases

A Tale Told Thusly
A place for new and established writers to show off their short stories

Trivia Contests

In Remembrance
Memories of those who have passed on

WesternSFA Main Page

Links of Interest

Email Us


Copyright ©2005-2018 All Rights Reserved
(Note that external links to guest web sites are not maintained by WesternSFA)
Comments, questions etc. email WebMaster