The End of Temperance Dare
by Wendy Webb
Cover Artist: Design: Emily Mahon
Review by Mel Jacob
Lake Union Publishing Trade Paperback / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9781477824115
Date: 06 June 2017 List Price $15.95 / $3.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
When Eleanor Harper is appointed Director of Cliffside Manor and its program of artists' retreats, she has no idea it will lead to murder and mayhem. She and the newly selected fellows are not anticipating anything to do with ghosts in this interesting gothic mystery.
Once Eleanor, currently unemployed, learns Penelope Dare, the present director of Cliffside Manor is retiring, she immediately contacts her about the job. She is selected and shortly after Penelope dies, apparently by suicide, Eleanor is left to handle the new fellows with no guidance.
The new group is diverse with a novelist, a nonfiction writer, an artist, a photographer, and a poet. Eventually, Eleanor learns all of them have ties of some sort to Cliffside except for the poet who is also an expert on demonology.
Cliffside had once been a sanatorium for TB patients and Temperance Dare, the youngest daughter of the Dare family, was among them. She proved to have been a disruptive influence and some patients feared being near her. Children she played with often died. Eventually, she too died at the age of seven.
Among the mysteries of Cliffside Manor are the deaths of Chester Dare and his daughter Chamomile, ostensibly by driving off a steep road in fog. Others included recovered patients about to be discharged, but who died before their release and Temperance Dare. Solving the mystery is the easy part. The hard part is putting an end to the one causing the deaths.
Webb provides a chilling tale of malevolence that destroyed an entire family. Not for the faint of heart, few readers are likely to unravel all parts of the mystery in this skillfully rendered ghost tale. Painstaking research and accepting the paranormal are necessary to lay the ghosts to rest. However, some readers may find it almost becomes a farcical parody near the end.