Date Published: September 4, 2019
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Thirteen Steps to the Cellar. They were steep; they were narrow—but was a fall down them enough to have caused the twenty-seven deep lacerations to her aunt’s head?
Callie Harris travels from her home in Alabama to her aunt’s former mansion in Maine to unravel the haunting forty-year-old mystery of Dr. Laverne Harris Doss’ brutal death.
Why wasn’t a murder weapon found? Was her uncle justly convicted of the killing? Was his mistress involved? Or was the murderer the bearded stranger rumored to have arrived by train that night?
In the charming town of Richmond, located on the banks of Maine’s historic Kennebec River, Callie uncovers the community’s darkest secrets—a botched police investigation, a betrayed widow’s lie, a dead woman’s blackmail, and a wealthy philanthropist’s shame. The web of intrigue extends far beyond her suspicions and its connection to her personal story pierces Callie to her core.
My review: Callie has always held a soft spot for the passing of her Aunt Laverne, her father’s sister. Now, both she and her father were gone, and, since the funeral, Callie has been having recurring nightmares. Newspaper clippings confirmed her aunt’s body was found in the cellar—a detail that certainly established the brutality of her death. However, no other details were shared. What’s even scarier was that Callie looked just like Laverne. So, naturally, she decides to visit the house in Richmond, Maine—where her aunt lived, worked, and died. Chilling!
Intent on learning more about her aunt’s murder, Callie seeks answers from a small town and historical records. But it certainly seems like the townspeople are hiding something. And who was the man in Callie’s dreams? Were these visions? Or memories of a past life?
Evidently many people in town had reason to leave the dead buried and certainly didn’t want the old story revived. Perhaps there were a few too many people in the story. I kind of wished that would’ve been narrowed down to a select few.
It’s an interesting mystery that sparks a curiosity in readers. What happened that night in the cellar? What secrets are these people hiding? And is there a killer still out there? Clues and speculation slowly drip into this old mystery like oil from a rag. Although not a fast-paced tale, it does lend eeriness into a dark quandary.
An okay read that mystery lovers would enjoy.
My rating: 3 stars
About the Author
TERESA MATHEWS is a graduate of The University of South Alabama. She’s a member of the Mobile Writers Guild and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association.
An avid gardener and artist, she has multiple book covers to her credit. Several years ago after visiting the site of her real-life aunt’s murder, Teresa discovered a third passion–storytelling. Although inspired by an actual tragedy, Thirteen Steps to the Cellar is fiction.
Raised on the Gulf Coast, Teresa, her husband, and son now live on a farm with a second home on the sparkling white sands of Fort Morgan, Alabama. This is her first novel.