Phantom Traces


Goth-dressing Abigail Stryker moves to a town in the Blue Ridge foothills of North Carolina, prepared to run the historical Harvey library. Even rumors of a resident pipe-smoking, book-throwing ghost doesn’t keep Abby from striving to save the adored library. But shrewish Commissioner Leda Ludwig is determined to see her fail. If the Harvey closes, its funding will revert to Leda’s pet project, the nearby college library. The ghost has its own agenda for keeping the library’s door open. Abby enjoys being courted by Jack Woods. The history professor is helping her find answers to mysteries involving a skeleton key, century-old letters, and the spirit world. But is Jack expecting too much from a girl who was practically raised in a University library by dry Academics?


This amusing story offered a spunky woman with a past, a professor/suitor with his own secret, a hefty supply of local Wiccans, helpful townsfolk, a nasty female antagonist, and a ghost with poltergeist-worthy antics; some were even helpful. This plot was original and enjoyable, the characters believable and well-developed. Unfortunately, the ending seemed a little simplified and rushed. Abby’s annoying penchant for dissolving into tears has one questioning her choice of non-waterproof eye-liner. The Wiccan presence seemed irrelevant, appearing as little more than a generic committee of civic volunteers providing moral support and refreshments. Otherwise, the plot was original, the story light and entertaining, and the epilogue left this reader smiling. Very nice, Ms. Gem!


Lori Leger