Disturbing the Dark
A Maggie MacGowen Mystery by Wendy Hornsby
Review: Investigative filmmaker Maggie MacGowen is visiting her ancestral home in Normandy, France with four students from the UCLA film school where she teaches part-time. She plans on producing a documentary on the rich agriculture of the area. As Maggie and her students are filming her grandmother's carrot field, they find a human skull, accidentally excavated by Freddie, Maggie's half-brother, in Disturbing the Dark, the tenth mystery in this series by Wendy Hornsby.
The discovery is exciting for Olivia, a research archeologist, who is nearby with a crew of five from a school in Paris. Six international students of agriculture, working under the direction of Maggie's brother Antoine, also rush over from the orchard where they were working. Soon it seems everyone had an interest in this human skull. But it also brings back memories of the German occupation of the 1940s. The skull is believed to be that of one of the Nazis that Grand-mere, Maggie's grandmother, killed after they forcibly took over the farm. Treating the farm owners and their workers as slaves, Grand-mere finally had enough, taking a knife to the throat of the cruelest member of the group while the rest of the family took care of the others. They buried the bodies in the fields. This grim discovery soon reaches the press, and then people, who claim to be descendants of the dead men. It's all too much for the family. But it gets worse when one of the young archeology students is murdered. Who would want to kill her — and why? When the police don't seem to make any progress identifying the culprit, Maggie steps in.
There are several strong elements to this story, from a multi-generational family working in the present while forced to relive the past, to an intriguing modern-day crime that would seem to have nothing to do with the events of more than 75 years ago, and yet the timing can hardly be coincidental. Or can it be? The small, rural village setting makes for a perfect backdrop to Maggie's investigation, giving the story a kind of Agatha Christie feel to it. This change of venue coupled with a solidly-developed murder mystery plot make Disturbing the Dark a most enjoyable entry in this series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Disturbing the Dark.
Acknowledgment: Perseverance Press provided a copy of Disturbing the Dark for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Color of Light
Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback), March 2014
ISBN-13: 9781564745422; ISBN-10: 1564745422
Location(s) referenced in Disturbing the Dark: Normandy, France
— ♦ —
Disturbing the Dark by Wendy Hornsby — A Maggie MacGowen Mystery
Publisher: Perseverance Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2016
List Price: $15.95
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites