Poison To Purge Melancholy

Written by Elena Santangelo
Review by Ilysa Magnus

The third installment in this delightful series is set during Christmas in present-day Williamsburg, Virginia. Pat Montella, though promising to refrain from ghostly communications because her boyfriend, Hugh, does not approve, finds herself in the midst of ghostly antics while she visits for the first time with her potential in-laws. How can she refuse if those on the other side have chosen her to tell their story? Of course, the simple answer is that she cannot.

                Alternating between 1783 and the present, Santangelo deftly interweaves the mystery of a Williamsburg Revolutionary War home filled with intrigue, and the inexplicable aches, pains, symptoms of poisoning and invisible stolen kisses experienced by Pat and Hugh’s family. How these two mysteries mesh is, naturally, resolved by Pat’s ability to see what the other side has to offer her by way of explanation.

                Santangelo gives us a fascinating look at the reality of the politics and social life of 18th century Williamsburg residents. She has a talent for imbuing her historical characters with the sense of place and time. Hugh’s family is idiosyncratic, funny and compellingly fascinating. All these elements taken together make this a quick read and romping good mystery.