Whispers Beyond the Veil (Change of Fortune)
by Jessica Estevao
Cover Artist: Woman by Lee Avison / Arcangel Images;
Old Orchard Beach Pier by Don Seymour / Getty Images
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425281604
Date: 06 September 2016 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
When Ivor Proulx commands his daughter, Ruby Proulx, to flip the switch on his latest toy to charm the money out of the na´ve, neither anticipates the horrific consequences that ensue. Ruby flees for her life and leaves Canada to see out her mother's sister in Old Orchard, Maine.
Raised by her flim-flam father in various carnivals, Ruby struggles to save money to escape her somewhat disreputable life. However, time and again her father takes her savings to maintain their lifestyle selling dodgy elixirs to rubes. At least she has learned to read people and has some success telling fortunes.
After a death of a young man testing her father's latest scheme, she changes her name and flees, fearing police will charge her with murder. Arriving at her deceased mother's home, she is welcomed by her aunt. The ancestral home is a hotel that specializes in paranormal practitioners and guests seeking their services.
A crisis arises when the medium cancels her plans to spend the season at the hotel. Desperate for a replacement and deeply in debt, Ruby's aunt fears she will lose the hotel. While Ruby is not certain she can fulfill the role of a medium, she volunteers.
The hotel's diverse guests hide many secrets and rivalries also disturb the atmosphere. Worst of all, a well-known psychic researcher has plans to unmask the various practitioners as fakes. Then, the researcher turns up dead.
Desperate to save her aunt from ruin and avoid the discovery of the Canadian death by local police, Ruby sets out to investigate the killings. Various snippets of conversation between the victim and other guests provide clues. More than one person had reason to want the victim dead.
The handsome local policeman trusts no one, especially not Ruby. When she arrived in town a pickpocket tried to steal her purse. Ruby does tell the police but fails to reveal all the details about the villain. In a mistaken attempt to help, her description is assumed to identify a Native American and to the harassment of the local encampment of Indians.
Solving the murder while helping her aunt, could end with Rudy's past being uncovered, something she wants to hide at all costs. Then a second man turns up dead.
A prolific writer, Estevo provides a polished narrative with hints of romance and paranormal abilities. She writes the Sugar Grove Mysteries under the name of Jesse Crockett.