Author: T. M. Alexander
Page Count: 182
Format: Digest Size
Cover and interior art by KOZ
Available From: Agent With Style
Price: $17.00 (US) * $21.00 (Mex/Can) * $22.00 (overseas)
When hunters find human remains at the site of an old mansion in the woods,
Major Crimes is called in to investigate. Ellison uncovers a 100-year-old murder
mystery and solves it in a most unorthodox manner, enlisting the help of a ghost
and the power of the house itself. This story has been compared to the film
Somewhere in Time for its dealings with visions of the past.
It's been nearly a year since I read this one. I do remember enjoying it greatly!
I have always enjoyed Alexander's TS fic and this was definitely a good one.
I'm sure a re-read is in the near future, and at that time, I'll most likely
have to make some comments. But until then I think Serena's wonderful
review will do nicely. Thanks Serena! Again!
When a hunting party discovers the decaying ruins of an old manor, complete with a skeleton hidden under leaves and grass at its rusty gate, a certain Cascade Detective is summoned to help despite his cold and headache. Dosed up with natural remedies Ellison makes it to "Howland's Odyssey", Sandburg by his side, to join Cpt. Banks in the investigation. The rotting house, once the pride of a rich contractor, now refuses to give away its secrets, though. Only an old nickelodeon, when urged, plays Claire de Lune.
And then one of the beams of the building crashes down and buries Ellison, the screeching sounds of the dying nickelodeon the last thing he hears for a long time.
The Detective wakes up to discover he is the guest in a rich man's house, a beautiful woman inviting him to dinner even though he had been injured when falling off a shying horse and there are 18th century's clothes in the bedroom's drawers. When he runs into Sandburg, a weight is lifted from his heart: The young man was obviously not injured when the house collapsed. But Sandburg does not remember him - he has never met the Detective before, but is all eager to talk to him: Sandburg is an author, writing crime-stories.
The mystery unravels as the time passes, jealous, hatefilled siblings arguing over their heritage as well as loving, trying to make a run from "Howland's Odyssey" and Sandburg slowly falling in love with the man who has literally fallen into his life. A magical night in front of the nickelodeon, kissing and loving to the music of Claire de Lune makes Ellison realize that his dreams have come true. But schemes and greed lead to a terrible climax...
Again Ellison wakes, devastated, terrified, thinking there is still his lover's
blood on his hands. But Sandburg is kneeling next to him, worried about him
being unconscious for such a long time.
Together they watch the manor crumble into a heap of stones and tiles, after having exposed its secrets one last time. The biggest secret, though, is still waiting for Jim at home (where some surprises lurk, too: To discover how much of his dream has been an illusion, how much is going to be fulfilled...)
TM Alexander is able to create two different worlds in one novella. The pace of her story as well as the tone of her writing changes, as Ellison struggles to solve a mystery in Victorian times, his sometimes deliberately out-of-place phrasing a reminder that he does not belong into this era, even though his spirit guide insists he should stay.
Her beautiful conclusion: Jim and Blair are two souls that belong together no matter where or when in time they meet, no matter how long it takes them to face that truth together. This novella always warms my heart - a captivating story, terrific illos and wonderful writing, it is an all-time-fav of mine, full of heart-wrenching grief and very hot sex! If you like AU's, you'll love that one. (me, now going to reread that 'zine!)
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