Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Specter of Seduction

Fresh from their success in Alabama, Raissa James and Reginald Proctor are asked to come to Waverley Mansion, an antebellum home in Mississippi. The Specter of Seduction by Carolyn Haines is the third in the Pluto's Snitch series and it is the most diabolical.

The Sheridans have decided to renovate a crumbling down, but still gorgeous mansion in the wilds of Mississippi, but something seems to have taken hold of their eight-year old daughter Amanda. Her behavior is reminiscent of someone much older and she seems wild and untamed. Also she has an imaginary friend named Nan who seems to be leading Amanda down a distant and peculiar path.

The mansion property is fraught with Civil War history and betrayal. The original family known as the Norquist family had three sons and three daughters and lived comfortably and quietly before the war. Three years into the war a young woman named Nora Bailey came to live with the family and fell in love with Francis, the eldest son. As they were Southerners, the three sons were Confederate officers, but Nora would soon wreak havoc on their lives.  She had a voracious sexual appetite and had affairs with two of the brothers, the local doctor and who knows who else. She also was a Union spy and her mission was to gain knowledge of Confederate military plans, but was hanged as a spy at Waverley Mansion.

Her sexual appetite was felt on the property and it drew college age women from The Mississippi
College for Women, which was a problem as well in the current day. The Sheridans also fear for the soul of their daughter Amanda with so much turbulence surrounding the home.

Raissa feels the powerful force of Nora and struggles to keep herself from being drawn in while she tries to save Amanda. With many twists and turns The Specter of Seduction is a wonderful addition to Carolyn Haines' list of books and I am looking forward to the next in the series.

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