Memory and Desire: A Novel of Mystery and Romance Paperback – 4 Feb 2003
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Claire immediately contacts the police who investigated Melinda's disappearance when she arrives in England, but Inspector Blake informs her that without a body, there is nothing more they can do. When Claire arrives in Sommerstowe and unpacks in the little room she is renting - the very same one Melinda stayed in when she was there - she finds a threatening note stuffed under the carpet and suddenly the investigation is open again. Alec Wood, the Summerstowe police force, takes Claire's fears seriously, but there is little he can do after he has the note tested for fingerprints, etc. Or is there? For, once Claire has all of Sommerstowe riled up about Melinda's disappearance, Alec uses a map and a type of divining rod to discover that Melinda is in the rose garden at Sommerstowe. Surprisingly, Alec is right and they have found what remains of Melinda - but who killed her?
Richard Lacey, the handsome conservation architect who is in charge of restoring the hall, had a fight with Melinda the night that she died and everyone knows that there was something going on between them, don't they? After all, the body was buried on Richard's beloved estate in the rose gardens he helped dig. But then, why was he being blackmailed? And if Melinda was the blackmailer, why did the notes continue after she died? Claire desperately wants to believe that Richard is innocent because there is a strong attraction to them, but who else could have killed Melinda? Turns out there are plenty of suspects in the seemingly peaceful English town: Alec Wood, the helpful policeman, had a date to meet Melinda in the garden at midnight, and he is a practicing wiccan; Elliot Moncrief, the play's volatile director had ample time and opportunity and he and Melinda used to play around together; Diana & Rob Jackman, the owners of the popular pub, The Druid's Circle, seemed to hate Melinda and she was always working in their bar so maybe they saw something they didn't like in Melinda's developing book...? The players are all assembled and, as the real play finishes its yearly run again, Claire is certain that the killer will strike again...but who and where?
This was a thrilling romantic suspense novel with a touch of the paranormal added to make it even better. The mystery was very well developed and Carl really keeps the reader guessing with all of her characters. Every time you turn around there is another motive that pops up into place, all seemingly innocent events that, when looked at in another light, are quite sinister. This was the best part of the book because everything was so suspenseful as anyone could have done it and many people didn't like Melinda, though for very different reasons. I also thought that Carl did a great job in making many smaller mysteries to surround the big mystery of who killed Melinda, this kept the plot moving forward and the reader guessing. I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters and Claire's developing confidence in herself and her hunches was very convincing also. The setting was fun, the details surrounding the plot were solid and well developed, the romance moved slowly, but seemed better that way - a great novel!
Melinda Varek, a very successful American journalist learned about an English village where the town's people put on a play every year. The play, AN HISTORIE OF THE APOCALYPSE AS VISIT'D UPON SUMMERSTOWE was touted as the true story of a seventeenth century witch trial. The play was about Elizabeth Spenser who was accused of being a witch. Melinda decided to stay in Summerstowe and work on the play. In fact, she played a major role in the part of the doomed Elizabeth Spenser. Melinda also hoped to get material for a possible book on the subject. She disappeared after the play was over and the police were never able to solve the mystery.
The following year, Clair Godwin goes to England on a mission to find out what happened to her best friend Melinda Varek. What she finds is a quaint, picture postcard village called Summerstowe. She also becomes acquainted with the charming Police Constable Alec Wood, the play's director, Elliot Moncrief, and handsome Richard Lacey, a conservation architect for the National Trust. The gathering place for the locals and play participants is a pub owned by Diana and Rob Jackman called the Druid's Circle.
Clair senses that she is not wanted in Summerstowe and decides that the best way for her to find out what happened to Melinda is to get involved with the play and the village residents. When she starts seeing the haunting apparition of Elizabeth Spenser and her cat, she knows that there is a lot more going on than just the disappearance of her best friend.