Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Sometimes you have to go away. Then you can come back new.”
When Mary Crow promised her longtime lover that she would no longer handle criminal cases, she never expected a murder to land at her front door. When the daughter of a prominent politician is found fatally victimized and her boss is charged with the crime, Mary is placed in the intractable position of proving his defense even though she knows it could cause her to lose everything that matters to her.
As Mary divulges deeper into the crime, she finds herself embroiled in a centuries old mystery that stems from a similar murder that occurred 1958 and a ghost story that still haunts the Appalachians surrounding her town. She is also having to deal with personal issues when her lover and his nine year old daughter return from a court ordered visit with her grandparents changed and suddenly acting cold towards her. With the help of the local sheriff’s fiancée and friends from her time as a prosecutor, Mary will learn the hard way that blood is thicker than water and often times the ghosts of our pasts are never truly laid to rest.
Music Of Ghosts is the fifth installment in Sallie Bissell’s Mary Crow series. A suspenseful mystery series whose protagonist, Mary Crow, is a Cherokee lawyer whose penchant for trouble follows her around like a shadow. Even if you haven’t read the first four, the story line’s crisp clean lines and smooth telling allows for instant comprehension and immersion. Heavily character driven with a multitude of twists and turns, lore inspired mystery and suspense builds slowly, intertwining with an on going deeply rooted romance that is not without its own drama.
Set in a small mountain town of North Carolina’s Pisgah County, legend and lore winds together to give us a well written personal glimpse into small town life and the reservations and prejudices that often come with it. I enjoyed meeting Mary and seeing the effort she has made to conform her life to the expectations of her lover, Jonathan Walkingstick. An intelligent and admirable woman, she has sacrificed so much of herself to be with him. A decision she didn’t make lightly nor does she regret. My heart broke for her when Jonathan places his own needs and wants above hers and isn’t there when she needs him most of all.
The secondary characters round out the storyline and further encourage the appeal of this story. Offering up a smattering of humor and eccentricity, I found myself engaging with them all. Everyone has a place in the story, be it large or small, and isn’t used as unnecessary filler. Bissell cleverly uses this small town appeal and eccentricity to keep us on our toes as we are given various clues to both mysteries while keeping our villain hidden right before our eyes.
The ending is an action packed finale that answers all our questions and wraps up the mysteries nice and neat. Mary’s personal life doesn’t wrap up as neatly and we are left with more questions than answers. Hopefully Ms. Bissell will not wait eight years to write book six.
Ms. Bissell’s Music of Ghosts is a enjoyable suspense thriller that will appeal to all readers who enjoy the thrill of a good small town mystery with a strong engaging female protagonist.
Overall Rating: B