The Devereaux Legacy
Review: According to the gravestone in a churchyard of the small town of Mefford, South Carolina, Leah Devereaux Shaw died nineteen years ago at the age of two, lost at sea with her parents when their boat capsized. At least one person knows that is not true: Leah herself, who is staring at her own grave. There is another, who also knew the truth … her paternal grandmother, the only relative Leah has known, but now she is now dead. Why had she lied to Leah all these years? In search of answers, she has returned to the town of her birth in The Deveraux Legacy, a stand-alone mystery by Carolyn Hart, first published in 1986 and recently reissued by Seventh Street Books in trade paperback and ebook formats.
Leah meets her maternal grandmother, Carrie Devereaux, who like everyone else believed that Leah had died with her parents. Carrie welcomes Leah with open arms, but admits that it was she, over twenty years ago, who threw Leah's mother out of the house when she wanted to marry Tom Shaw, Leah's father. She has felt guilty all these years, especially after their deaths, and is thrilled that Leah is alive and well. With Leah being Carrie's only direct descendant, she will now be the sole heir to the Deveraux Plantation, effectively cutting out her cousins, who were anxious to inherit. Cissy, in particular, had reigned as Lady of the Manor, and seems determined to make sure Leah doesn't take her place.
This short — 156 page — novel of suspense is a study in Southern aristocracy. It has more than a little Gothic noir to it, with everyone hiding something behind a façade of rehearsed gentility. The characters are well developed, drawn with brush strokes of compassion and jealousy. There is a strong sense of what could have been and should have been here, of a lost past and an uncertain future. With its unexpected twists and turns, it's a captivating tale in many ways, though a somewhat unsettling one as well.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Devereaux Legacy.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided a copy of The Devereaux Legacy for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Seventh Street Books (Trade Paperback), November 2012
ISBN-13: 9781616147068; ISBN-10: 1616147067
Location(s) referenced in The Devereaux Legacy: South Carolina
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The Devereaux Legacy by Carolyn Hart
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: February 2013
List Price: $13.95