Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, Monday, mystery on January 29, 2018

The Vanished Bride of Northfield House

Gothic Mystery
1st in Series
Date of Release January 26, 2018
Cup of Tea Books
Paperback: 346 pages


England, 1922:  Times are hard. Anne Chatham is a clever, modest young woman with little money, no prospects for marriage, and a never-shared secret—she can see spirits.

Anne finds employment as a typist at Northfield House, the grand country manor of the Wellington family. Her employer, the wheelchair-bound Mr. Wellington, is kindly. His haughty wife is not. He has two handsome sons, the wry and dashing Thomas and the dark and somber Owen.

Anne feels sure her prayers have been heard. Until the terrifying night, she stumbles upon a tortured spirit roaming the dark halls of Northfield, a spirit that only she can see.

In a search for answers, she finds herself drawn to Owen as they unearth a tragic story from the Wellington family’s past—a beautiful young bride gone missing on her wedding day.

Then tragedy strikes again on the night of a glittering masquerade ball…

Guest Post

Today we welcome character Anne Chatham to SBR.  She is here to tell us a bit about her and her role in this mystery novel.  Take it away Anne!

I am Anne Chatham. My story is about love, loss, and new beginnings, but more importantly, it is about the human heart and the depths of depravity to which it may sink.

I should start at the beginning. Before arriving at Northfield House during midsummer in 1922, I was the beloved, last remaining child of a prosperous, well-respected man of the cloth. I had a home and knew my place, despite the tragic loss of my mother and siblings in the influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1919.

What little was left to me was torn asunder when Father was found seated at his desk in his study, one lifeless hand upon his Bible. He left little savings and no insurance, no ongoing support for me, a young woman of limited means and with meager prospects for marriage. At the age of 23, I was already considered a spinster.

It was up to me to support myself. Women were just starting to join the workforce in other areas than just Domestic Service. Though I respect the work a maid does, a life in service was not for me.

With the small sum of money left to me, I studied typewriting at a women’s college in Liverpool and applied for employment.  I was relieved when I found a job in a grand country estate outside of Northfield, a small community clinging to the values of the past.

And so I came to stay at Northfield House. Sir Henry Wellington, my elderly, wheelchair-bound employer, is gruff and distant but kind. His wife is not. He has two handsome sons, wry and dashing Thomas and the dark and somber Owen.

But they are not the only inhabitants of Northfield House.  A tortured spirit roams the halls… and I’m the only one who can see her.

With Owen’s help, I have started to unearth a tragic story from the Wellington family’s past – a beautiful young bride gone missing on her wedding day.  But time is not on my side and the answers may not be discovered before another tragedy strikes. ..


I heard scratching—fingernails or claws or beaks on wood. Then the rustle of wings, a soft fluttering. Perhaps a bird had gotten trapped on the floor above.

Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud.

Then nothing.

I waited for the thumps and scratches to begin again, but heard only Owen’s rapid breathing.

His grip on my shoulder softened. Before we could step away from each other, I heard something else. Whispers. Not words, but sibilance. A faint weeping.
I could pretend no longer that the sounds issued from an animal.

Owen shuddered, and I tried to swallow.

My sight darted from the floors to the ceilings, from corner to corner, searching for additional signs. I saw none. The bed, its elaborate draperies, and the pictures on the walls were all undisturbed, but a plaintive lament—a mournful sobbing—suddenly filled the space.

When the weeping stopped, I found my hand pressed against Owen’s chest. I could feel his heart beating, hard and fast, under my palm.

“I think it’s over,” he said, releasing my shoulders.

I reluctantly withdrew my hand and took a step away.

About the Author

Phyllis M Newman turned to writing mysteries after a career in finance and human resources. She lives in Columbus, Ohio in a big house with a weed-filled yard, three strong-willed cats, and a husband that’s easy on the eyes.

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