Happy Friday!!! Today I’m on the blog tour for Forms of Things Unknown by Elizabeth Ireland, and I’m delighted to be able to share an extract with you….
Recently returned to Chicago after a successful tour of Hamlet, Lillian Nolan is awakened in the dead of night by a strange voice. She is shocked to learn that well known and admired actress, Louise Hawthorne, has fallen to her death from the sixth floor of the Tremont House. Was it an accident? Did she jump or was she pushed? Louise’s former lover, and the main suspect, pleads with Lillian to uncover the truth and clear his name.
In the process of learning to trust her intuitive abilities, Lillian attempts to find balance between relying upon her gift and uncovering the truth in her own way. But the menace of death pursues her and soon her own life is at risk. When she finds herself in a trap from which she cannot escape, her only hope of survival is to call upon the metaphysical world.
Forms of Things Unknownis based on an actual event which occurred in June of 1876 in Chicago. It is the third standalone book in the Backstage Mystery Series.
THE BACKSTAGE MYSTERY SERIES
Tagline:Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.
Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”
The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.
In the summer of 1876, Lillian Nolan, actress and sleuth, is woken in the early hours of the morning and compelled to go down her hotel’s back stairs to the courtyard of the hotel where she makes a gruesome discovery:
When I arrived at the door to the hotel that let out onto the back courtyard, I turned the handle and pushed it open. In the courtyard I saw that Tony stood holding a lantern next to Mr. Eldrege who was bent down on one knee. Another man stood next to him. That man was dressed in a travelling suit and I thought he must be a hotel guest who, like me, had come to see what was going on. They seemed oblivious to my presence and all stared at the same thing, something on the ground.
Once again I heard Mr. Eldrege’s voice. “She must have fallen. Poor woman.”
I approached to the left of them and saw the figure of a woman on the pavement, facedown. She wore a white robe, over what appeared to be an evening dress, the color of which was faintly familiar to me. Her arms were spread out, but the hands were clenched as if she had been grasping at something. Her hair was completely unbound. It spread out over her head and the pavement. It was stained by a pool of blood that flowed freely from under her face. Her wrapper was quickly becoming saturated with it.
Mr. Eldrege gently turned her body over. In the dim light of the lantern I could see she had struck the bricks of the courtyard headfirst. Her forehead was broken and splintered. The upper part of her face was mangled and her right eye was completely gone. There was little left to recognize the beautiful countenance of Louise Hawthorne, a woman who had been alive and healthy just a few short hours ago. I took a step back and turned away from that awful vision.
I heard rather than saw the man turn away and vomit.
“Go get the police,” Mr. Eldrege said to Tony who promptly handed him the lantern, rushed past me, and ran for the back door, obviously happy to leave the bloody scene.
It was then that Mr. Eldrege saw me.
“Miss, go back to your room. Poor woman fell out of her window.”
“I know… I knew…her,” I managed to say.
“Ah. Yes. It is Miss Hawthorne. A friend of yours from the theater?” He didn’t wait for a reply. “I’m sorry.” He paused and said, “Perhaps you’d like to wait in the manager’s office? The police will want to speak with you.”
about the author
Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theater History—particularly that of the 19thcentury—has always been of particular interest to her.
She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowshipin screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.
tour hosted by:
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour, and thank you to Elizabeth for sharing an extract with us.
Have a great day all and thanks for reading!