Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Walking Shadow by Elizabeth Ireland. It’s a murder mystery with a nod to historical fiction and interwoven with elements of the paranormal.About the Author
Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theater History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.
She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008.
Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.
Follow @EbethIreland on Twitter, on Facebook, Follow Backstage Mystery on Facebook,Visit elizabethireland.net
In 1871, Lillian Nolan accepts a small role in Macbeth, and finally fulfills her dream of becoming an actress. That is until the renowned, but venomous, female star of the production is murdered onstage opening night. When her enraged spirit haunts the theater, Lillian is shocked to discover she can communicate with her. Offered a Faustian bargain in which she will be given talent and expertise way beyond her ability in exchange for uncovering the killer, Lillian can’t resist.
Her quest for the truth causes her to descend into the Underworld, the den of inequity below the streets of Chicago. What Lillian finds soon embroils her in a battle between her passion for performing and control over her own body as it all plays out in a supernatural game of good and evil.
About The Backstage Mystery Series
Tagline: Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.
Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”
The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.
A young woman from a wealthy and reputable family, Rosemary, goes against the wishes of her family to pursue a career in acting, which is consider to be quite scandalous in the 1870s.
Rosemary becomes Lillian Nolan. In order to protect the reputation of her family, but it also helps to invent an alter ego of sorts who isn’t expected to abide by the stringent rules of society. The myriad of oppressive rules the female gender is governed and expected to abide by.
Although this is a murder mystery it also has a flair of historical crime fiction, because the author has incorporated a lot of historical facts about theatre, actors and the acting profession into the story. It cements the storyline of Lillian, because it explains the magical pull of the profession and the superstitious nature of those in the profession.
What’s also quite important is the history behind the ‘reputation’ female thespians used to have. Those who took to the stage were considered unsavoury, little more than disreputable women. This is the reason Lillian has to make a choice between a career on the stage or her family, because the two are incompatible.
Her decision takes on a life of its own when she becomes embroiled in a murder and subsequently makes a deal with the devil, in the shape of a ghost, to further her own ambition and to find a murderer.
I liked the approach the author took by taking the reader back in time and telling the tale as if it were a story within a story. It gives Lillian the air of telling her story as if she were performing for an audience, the theatrical side of her can’t resist I suppose.
It’s a murder mystery with a nod to historical fiction and interwoven with elements of the paranormal. The result is a compelling read, which has the air of literary fiction at times. Kudos to Ireland for capturing the allure, passion and drive of the acting profession. It’s hard to describe the magic that happens on stage, the exhilaration and pleasure derived from the magic, but Ireland does it well.
Buy A Walking Shadow at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.
Read my review of Foul Deeds Will Rise (Backstage Mystery #2)
Read my review of Forms of Things Unknown (Backstage Mystery #3)