Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on January 18, 2018

Murder Over Medium: Jade Blackwell Mystery Series
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Misterio Press (December 31, 2017)
Print Length: 216 pages


Former English professor turned blogger, Jade Blackwell, is enjoying her predictable routine when trouble comes knocking in the form of an old friend and colleague. Unbeknownst to Jade, Gwendolyn Hexby is no longer the successful academic she once knew and trusted—she is now following a new calling as a psychic medium, a contentious career that flies in the face of the logic and deductive reasoning Jade values.

At first, Jade welcomes the visit, but things soon turn bizarre as Gwendolyn brings only disorder danger and disruption. When a murder is prophesied, and a beloved pillar of the Aspen Falls’ community winds up dead, Gwendolyn becomes Sheriff Ross Lawson’s prime suspect.

To get Gwendolyn out of hot water, and more importantly, out of her house, Jade attempts to prove her friend’s innocence. Jade believes she’s finally discovered the truth, but is soon brought back to reality when she learns all is not as it seems in the realm of the metaphysical. Not even murder.

Return to the Jade Blackwell Cozy Mystery Series in Murder Over Medium, as Jade jumps into the fray of a territory not governed by logic or reason—in either this world or the next.

Guest Post

Victorian Spiritualism Comes to Aspen Falls

We who live in the 21st century aren’t the first to find psychics, ghosts and séances fascinating. We may believe we are the first to dabble in the occult as entertainment, but that title goes to the Victorians.

We usually think of the Victorian age as the time of science and technology. One thing that often goes along with improvements in science is a lack of faith in traditional organized religion. In the Victorian era, that loss of faith led to the Spiritualist movement which was founded on the idea that the dead could contact the living with the help of a gifted medium.

It’s believed the movement began on April 1, 1848, in the village of Hydesville, New York. That’s the date when the teenage Fox sisters, Margaret and Kate, claimed to have communicated with the ghost of a murder victim who had lived in the family home many years before. The event was reported in the local newspaper, and the rest, as they say, is history.

My protagonist, Jade Blackwell, would have been happy for it to stay out of the modern-day mainstream consciousness. But no one asked her. And so, when her former colleague, Gwendolyn Hexby, comes for a visit, Jade comes face-to-face with the world beyond.

You see, Jade only learned that Gwendolyn had changed professions when her old friend landed on her doorstep. Gwendolyn has found a “higher calling” as a psychic medium, and logical Jade isn’t sure how to deal with the woo-woo world her friend now inhabits. Jade spends the entire book trying to reconcile Gwendolyn’s new beliefs with the woman who demanded empirical evidence years before.

One of the first things Gwendolyn does once she’s darkened Jade’s door is to hold a séance. Which makes sense, seeing as she’s a medium who is visiting the area to help others tap into their inner guidance. Unfortunately, the séance doesn’t turn out exactly as she expected. She prophesies a murder.

Jade ends up with a house guest who overstays her welcome and turns her home into a tarot reading hub. Unlike the Victorians, Jade doesn’t find the whole thing charming and mesmerizing. Though many famous Victorian people did. These include Harry Houdini, W.B. Yeats, Elizabeth Barret Browning and Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Even Queen Victoria herself claimed to have communicated with the dead.

Here are some other factual tidbits you will find interesting (though Jade, not so much):

  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini’s were great chums. But when Houdini was unable to connect with his departed mother during multiple séances, the two fell out. The rift between them occurred when Houdini showed Doyle he could recreate the “paranormal” occurrences at a seance they had attended.In later life, Houdini put a great deal of energy into proving séances were hoaxes. He was on a mission to prove mediums were frauds. He became so obsessed before he died in 1926, he told his wife he would come back to speak with her. They even came up with a code word, so she would know it was him. For ten years after his death, she held a séance, but he never did show up. Magicians and fans of Houdini continue the tradition by holding séances each year on his birthday.
  • Believe it or not, there have been séances in the White House. Both First Lady Jane Pierce, wife of Franklin Pierce, and Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln hired mediums to hold séance in the White House to contact their dead sons. Both hired the same mediums, the famous Fox sisters, to make contact.
  • The Victorians are the ones we can thank for the popularity of the Ouija board. It was first manufactured in in 1891 by a game company. It claimed the power to “provided a link between the living world and the one inhabited by the dead.”
  • Tarot cards had been around since the 1400s, but they started out as a card game to be played alone. During the Victorian era, tarot cards became a very common way for mediums and spiritualists to receive messages from the dead.
  • Back in the modern world, it’s interesting to note that approximately 28% of Americans have had a clairvoyant episode, 65% have had an ESP experience, and 40% have connected with the dead.

For more fun with metaphysical mischief, read Book 3 of the Jade Blackwell Mystery Series, Murder Over Medium.


About the Author

Gilian Baker is a former English professor who has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger, ghostwriter and cozy mystery author to her C.V. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain murder mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder for her Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggling with her husband watching British TV or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

Gilian lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines. In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder.

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