Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Forms of Things Unknown by Elizabeth Ireland. It’s the third book on the Backstage Mystery series. It’s a paranormal murder mystery with a nod to historical fiction.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.
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Recently returned to Chicago after a successful tour of Hamlet, Lillian Nolan is awakened in the dead of night by a strange voice. She is shocked to learn that well known and admired actress, Louise Hawthorne, has fallen to her death from the sixth floor of the Tremont House. Was it an accident? Did she jump or was she pushed? Louise’s former lover, and the main suspect, pleads with Lillian to uncover the truth and clear his name.
In the process of learning to trust her intuitive abilities, Lillian attempts to find balance between relying upon her gift and uncovering the truth in her own way. But the menace of death pursues her and soon her own life is at risk. When she finds herself in a trap from which she cannot escape, her only hope of survival is to call upon the metaphysical world.
Forms of Things Unknown is based on an actual event which occurred in June of 1876 in Chicago. It is the third standalone book in the Backstage Mystery Series.
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.
You can read each book in the series as a standalone novel, but there is a nice progression in the books, as Lillian discovers her talents and tries to understand how to use them and come to terms with them.
As Lillian works her way from the past to the present – story by story of her life, her talent or gift evolves. With each new story there is a new aspect to her abilities and the dead also appear able to communicate better with her each time. It freshens up the plot each time.
This time I think Lillian becomes a little too convinced that she is the next Miss Marple. She ends up overestimating her detective skills and underestimating someone who is willing to kill anyone in their way.
This time Lillian tries to discover whether the famous actress Louise Hawthorne accidentally fell to her death or whether she was she pushed? Did her co-star have anything to do with it or is he a victim of unfortunate circumstances?
Ireland weaves a clear love for theatre and acting into this series. It gives the characters and scenes much more depth, because it feels alive and personal. The pleasure derived from entertaining others and experiencing the joy of acting. It plays a pivotal part in this series, which may seem like an obvious thing to say considering what the series is called, but backstage doesn’t necessarily mean you can capture the magic.
It’s a paranormal murder mystery with a nod to historical fiction. A mixture of cosy mystery with a more complex storyline weaving in and out of it.
Buy Forms of Things Unknown (Backstage Mysteries #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.
Read my review of A Walking Shadow (Backstage Mystery #1)
Read my review of Foul Deeds Will Rise ( Backstage Mystery #2)