Her timing was perfect. As she rounded the corner, daily Mass had ended, and the Archbishop was standing outside the ornately carved doors of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
His followers were tiered below him on the steps. He turned and allowed his eyes to trace the contours of her body and she felt the thrill of power. A sheer white muslin shift clung to her black swim suit, still wet from morning exercise at the community pool. Despite the heat and the humidity from the Gulf of Mexico, she strolled by as if it were a cool spring day in Vermont.
Elaine Chauvier was a stately woman, aware of her long legs and enticing figure. Some said she was a snob and she would have agreed with them. After all, she was from aristocracy. Her great grandfather and General Robert E. Lee had been close friends, and her family had owned sections of plantation land and nearly a hundred slaves. No one could give this woman a passing glance without being momentarily transfixed. Soft black hair, always a bit ruffled to give a false impression of casualness, framed a face of classic perfection. Piercing dark eyes conveyed the superiority she felt over everyone.
Archbishop Andre Figurant gave hardly a thought to the man who knelt to kiss his ring or the mother holding up her baby for a blessing. His focus was across the street, beyond the wrought-iron fence surrounding the Cathedral’s property. The gliding presence hypnotized as well as beguiled him.
Fans of Agatha Christie and her enormous ensemble casts will find many enjoyable parallels in the work and structure of author Barbara Frances. I particularly enjoyed the setting for this tale, playing on the traditional tropes of the Southern gothic genre, but also adding many flairs and twists from ghost stories, fables and psychological horror works. Both the characters and plot are multi-faceted, giving readers a lot to follow, but also a lot to gain from paying close attention to each clue and motivation. The mystery itself sometimes takes a back seat when the (often literal) ghosts and shadows take over, playing with the characters’ sensibilities and forcing them to ask much deeper questions of themselves and others. What results is an emotive but also thoughtful, spooky mystery novel. I would highly recommend Shadow’s Way to mystery and gothic fiction fans looking for something new, unique and really well crafted.
Ms. Francis’ novel Shadow’s Way, had me enthralled from page one, it kept me reading until so late into the night that I used a flashlight in order not to wake my husband.
I’ve always enjoyed reading gothic tales, but this one went beyond most that I had read. The synopsis was correct, past and present mingled and left me on the edge of my seat. Was G – G – Daddy a real paranormal experience or a figment of Elaine Chauvier’s imagination, which got worse as she sunk deeper into insanity?
I loved the various characters that Ms. Francis brought into play as needed to heighten the story. They were well rounded and interconnected in ways that one has to keep reading to get the full picture.
The Owl and Pussycat Promotions is dedicated to promote author's books at reasonable prices.