By Kathleen Valentine
Volume 4 of The Beacon Hill Chronicles
It was nearly ten when Viv left Mattie and the children in Brother Maksim’s care. She wasn’t sure what she was doing but the more she thought about Brother Maksim’s suspicions, the more she was convinced he was right. When she called Joe an hour earlier, he told her he and Kevin were still at Handsome Molly’s and, from the loud music and noise in the background, she believed that. She tried calling Ramin but her call went straight to voice-mail.
Mattie stood with her arms folded tight against her chest. “Viv, I know you’re good at looking out for yourself, but what do you think you’re going to do? I can’t believe after everything we’ve been through that house is still in our lives.”
“You sound like Stan.”
“If Stan were here he wouldn’t let you go, you know.”
“If Stan were here he’d go.” Viv pulled on her jacket. “And I’d sneak out after him.”
“You know this is crazy.”
“Mattie, honey, your grandmother’s house is the definition of crazy.”
Mattie laughed but there wasn’t much humor in it.
Many of the shops along Tremont Street had grinning illuminated jack’o’lanterns in their windows and bunches of cornstalks that rustled in the night breeze by their doors. Gold twinkle lights wrapped around lamp posts and decorated trees. Whoever had strung the lights in the trees did so in such a haphazard manner that they appeared to have been placed there by a wizard too drunk to operate his magic wand. Though all the little trick-or-treaters were gone from the street, adult revelers in costume were everywhere. Music spilled out of bars and restaurants and the cool night was festive in a nerve-wracking way.
On the Common a group of musicians dressed in black outfits with glowing white skeletons on them played music by the Visitor’s Center. A pushcart vendor sold hot mulled cider and pumpkin cookies to ghosts and zombies, mermaids and monsters. Viv cut across the Common and, once she crossed Beacon Street to the Hill, all the noise seemed to fall away. In the glow of gaslight she saw that many of the houses had pumpkins on their doorsteps and in their flower boxes, but the decorations were mostly natural and discreet. Walking past number eight Walnut Street, Viv noticed someone had spread cob webs between the columns on either side of the door and she could not help thinking of George Parkman who once lived there and the grisly way he was murdered. It was not a good night to think about gruesome murders. She walked faster and turned down Mount Vernon Street.
A few lights were on in Ramin’s house—the sort of low, subtle lights that anyone would leave on while they were away. Viv hurried around the corner and entered the little alley behind the house. Except for the dim glow of windows the alley was dark. Shifting, moody clouds broke to reveal a brilliant crescent moon that was just as quickly swallowed by another cloud. As she approached the iron gate to Ramin’s back garden, Viv saw that it was closed and that his Aston-Martin was gone. She stood for a minute trying to decide what to do and, as she did, she heard footsteps behind her. Someone entered the alley and, instinctively, she ducked between the wall of the garage and an old lilac bush. The shadowy figure was large and walked briskly. She worked herself into the shelter of the garage’s side door and held her breath.
What is The Crazy Old Lady’s Secret about?
Return to Boston’s Beacon Hill where the Thorndike mansion, the scene of imprisonment, murder, and hauntings, has been sold. Mattie and Stan are happy in their Cape Cod home. Viv and Joe have a new little daughter and their life in Boston’s North End is good. Joe has a publishing contract to write a series of books on famous Boston crimes. Viv is actively involved in the city’s art world. For a while everything is bliss. But as Joe gets caught up in researching the 19th-century murder of a prominent Beacon Hill physician, mansions on the Hill are being broken into and people die mysteriously. At the opening of a posh new gallery, Viv and Joe meet the owner who seems to know more than anyone about a beautiful local artist who made scandalous paintings that shocked the Brahmins, but who died under mysterious circumstances. Then there is the new owner of GrammyLou’s townhouse, an art dealer from Paris. Ramin Aria is devastatingly handsome, extremely wealthy, and completely mesmerized by Viv.
With the help of the old historian, Doctor Anteus Roosevelt Jones, the feisty knitting shop owner, Calista Defarge, and defrocked monk, Brother Maksim Gromeyko, Viv and Joe get caught up in mysteries from long ago when they discover the crazy old lady’s secret.
Bonus Material: The book contains a gallery of images and descriptions of locations mentioned in the story.
Where you can get it
Buy the book on Amazon
About the author
Kathleen Valentine was born and grew up in the Allegheny Highlands of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in The Arts and worked for over twenty years in the art/marketing departments of high-tech corporations. Since 2003 she has run her own design business, Valentine-Design.com. She is the author of “Fry Bacon. Add Onions”, a cookbook/memoir of growing up Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as 4 novels, several novelettes and short story collections, and knitting instruction books. She has been listed as an Amazon Top 100 Author in Horror. Her novellas, “The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic” and “Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter” were Amazon Top Ten Best Sellers in Horror and Ghost Stories for over 20 weeks.
Her blog at KathleenValentineBlog.com has been read by thousands of readers since its beginning in July 2005. She currently lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America’s oldest seaport, and is writing every day.
And follow her on Twitter @Kathleen01930