An Inquiry Into Love and Death - Simone St. James

An Inquiry into Love and Death

by Simone St. James



After her uncle Toby, a renowned ghost hunter, is killed in a fall off a cliff, Oxford student Jillian Leigh must rive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings.  Almost immediately, unsettling incidents - a book left in a cold stove, a gate swinging open on its own - escalate into terrifying events that convince Jillian an angry spirit is trying to enter the house and is haunting the woods around Blood Moon Bay.  If Toby discovered something sinister during his investigations, was his death no accident?

The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers - and with the added complication of a powerful mutual attraction.  She suspects someone will do anything to hide the truth and begins to discover secrets that lie deep within Rothewell... and at the very heart of who she is.

An Inquiry into Love and Death was just as beautifully written as I remember St. James' writing in Maddy Clare... that was at least a year or two ago since I first read this author's work.  The small seaside town gave off a wonderfully atmospheric feel, and I could just imagine the moodiness of Barrow House, the woods, and the rough waters nearby.  The inclusion of how the war affected the men and and women in this time frame was also a lovely touch, and St. James weaved the post-WWI aftermath into this mystery rather well, I think.

Inquiry was really more mystery and legend than it was romance.  And it also focused more on Jillian's own self-revelations, which became quite clear as the book progressed.  I loved the tidbits of folklore and tales of history told by the local residents in Rothewell, and found myself more immersed in those than in the book's actual present-day story line with Jillian and Inspector Merriken.  In fact, I found myself wanting to know more about the lore and about the Walking John hauntings, as well as the other unnamed hauntings that were said to take place.

I loved the little mention about how most of the hauntings, save for the Walking John, seemed to be about certain people who may have lived in Rothewell, now all forgotten.  Hauntings by people who have been forgotten seems like a wonderful idea for more books!

Meanwhile, as I'd already mentioned, the romance kind of takes a backseat in this book, which, in a way, I'm not really complaining about.  I didn't have any strong feelings about Inspector Drew Merriken one way or another, though I also didn't particularly like him.  I found myself more interested in how things would turn out for Jillian concerning her family, the secrets she started uncovering, and what her Uncle Toby was doing in Barrow House when he died.

The outcome of the romance was really the last thing on my mind, surprisingly.

This was a lovely, enjoyable read, overall.