by Katherine Hamilton, from Sheila Connolly's Murder at the Mansion (Victorian Village #1), coming out June 26th from Minotaur Books
The author Thomas Wolfe once wrote a book called You Can’t Go Home Again. Maybe I should have paid attention. But then, in that book he said, “Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going.” I think I remembered that part.
I’m Katherine Hamilton, usually called Kate, and for a lot of reasons—like losing my job, and because my high school best buddy Lisbeth begged me—I came home again, to the small town of Asheboro in western Maryland. But this wasn’t just a visit to my old hometown: for some reason the town council decided I was the right person to rescue the town from a long economic slump and make it a tourist attraction.
What I really wanted was to get out of my Baltimore condo for a while and clear my head while I tried to figure out what to do next with my life. Unfortunately Asheboro wasn’t exactly what I needed. First of all, Cordelia Walker, the girl who had made my life miserable in high school, was still trying to throw her weight around in the town fifteen years later, and she had her own ideas about saving the town (although the town council disagreed with her). To make things worse, she’d married my one-time high school boyfriend Ryan, although at least he’d had the good sense to divorce her. And then she ended up dead, and I was the person who found her. I was off to a great start.
I guess it was the things I hadn’t noticed when I was growing up in town that kept me there, when I could easily have turned and run. I didn’t want to see the town get swallowed up by a bigger town and disappear just because there was no industry and no jobs and no reason to move to Asheboro, much less stay there. All my memories weren’t bad ones. But the thing that really sold me was the Victorian mansion outside of town, built by the man who also built the only factory in town—more than a hundred years ago. When I saw the house again, it was like walking into a time warp. Even though it had been empty for a century, it was perfectly preserved (thanks to a long line of caretakers). I could see so clearly how to bring it back to life, and bring the town along with it, to make it a restored gem worth the visit.
Except there was the problem of the late Cordelia and why she’d been dumped on the steps of the mansion. I made a pretty good suspect, but luckily for me the State Police didn’t think so.
Is Asheboro still my home? I haven’t decided yet, but I love a challenge, and I had the time to see what I could do with the place. All I have to do is get the whole town to support my plan to take the town back in time to the way it was in 1900—and find the money to do it. It’ll be a lot of work, but I hope it will be worth it.
Coming June 26th! You can pre-order it now at
Amazon or Barnes and Noble