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I highly recommend The Dark Farewell, with a grade of 'Excellent', to those readers who like historical books and who want to read a slightly chilling story of love, loss and murder.

Jenre at Well Read Reviews
It’s the Roaring Twenties. Skirts are short, crime is rampant, and booze is in short supply. Prohibition has hit Little Egypt where newspaper man David Flynn has come to do a follow-up story on the Herrin Massacre. But the massacre isn’t the only news in town. Spiritualist Medium Julian Devereux claims to speak to the dead–and he charges a pretty penny for it.
Flynn knows a phony when he sees one, and he’s convinced Devereux is as fake as a cigar store Indian. And he’s absolutely right. But when Julian begins to see bloodstained visions of a serial killer, the only person he can turn to for help is the cynical Mr. Flynn.

 

(Included in the historical print collection What’s Left of Kisses)

Through the darkness, he found his way down a row of plush seats, located an empty seat near the back and sat down. It was only then that he actually looked at the stage. There was a small table with a crystal ball in the center. Behind the table, The Magnificent Belloc was sitting in a large gold throne. Presumably it belonged to the Opera House since it was hard to picture gramps and Julian lugging that piece of furniture all over the Midwest. It was a nice prop, though, and it suited the occasion and the man sitting in it.

Julian looked like one of those French aristocrats from the time right before the people got tired of eating cake and started lopping heads. He wore dark blue leggings and a silver and powder blue brocade frock coat over a soft shirt with bunches of lace at the throat and cuffs. He had caved to the fashion of phony mediums and donned a turban, but it was relatively simple, creamy pale silk fastened with a giant sapphire. There were jewels on his slender hands and pinned at the lace at his throat; they flashed in the footlights every time he moved. The crowd seemed spellbound, and Flynn was not surprised. Julian looked beautiful and exotic and mysterious. He looked unearthly.

Flynn had already missed the introductions and preliminaries, whatever they were. Julian’s eyes were shut and he was mumbling to himself, but the acoustics of the old building were excellent and Flynn recognized the occasional French word. Not French as he knew it. It was probably supposed to be the French of Paris at the time of the Revolution, but it was more likely French Creole. Then again, French Creole was supposed to be an older variety of French, wasn’t it?

Someone shouted out from the crowd, “What about these here murders we’re hearing about? What do the spirits say about them?”

The Magnificent Belloc shook his head, gave an impatient flick of his jeweled fingers and kept concentrating.

There were hisses and shushing from the crowd for the man who had interrupted the mystic’s train of thought. He subsided, abashed.

Belloc—it was hard to think of him as Julian in this context—sat up straight and opened his eyes. He had a distinctly French inflection as he said, “Her name is Marie. No. Mary. A pretty child. La pauvre petite. She was very young when she crossed, yes?”

Reaction rippled through the crowd but no one spoke up.

“She was…confused at first,” Belloc said gravely. “The young ones often are, but they…what is the word? Habituate the most quickly.” He looked out over the sea of faces, although he probably couldn’t see anything beyond the front of the stage. “Mary. She is all right now. Everything is all right now. Who is here for Mary?”

There was a smothered sob as though torn unwilling out of some grieving breast, and an elderly woman stood up, handkerchief pressed to her mouth.

“Ah. Grand-mère,” Belloc said kindly. “Mary wishes to tell you something. She wishes to tell you that she is all right. She is happy. She is playing with the little lambs and baby angels. She is strong and she is well again.”

The woman sobbed into her handkerchief.

Non, non, Grand-mère,” Belloc said quickly. “Mary wishes you to be happy for her. She has joined us with one purpose tonight and that is to tell you that she thanks you for all your love and your care, and that she is in a better place now, oui?”

The woman buried her face in her handkerchief and sank back into her seat.

Belloc nodded, well-satisfied with his chicanery, and relaxed in his throne. He closed his eyes.

Already the murmurs were running through the crowd impressed with the evening’s entertainment so far.

Belloc mumbled some more French words. He dipped his head as though agreeing to something the spirits were saying. Listening a few seconds more, he held up a graceful hand, bidding the spirits to shut it for a sec.

Flynn began to enjoy himself.

On stage, Belloc had fallen silent, fist to his forehead, ostensibly concentrating hard.

“Angela,” he said slowly, “I have a message from Bill.” He raised his head and stared out beyond the glare of the footlights. “Is Angela in the house tonight?”

A tall woman stood midway up the sea of red velvet chairs. “I’m Angela. Bill was my father. William Robert Tucker. He passed nine years ago.” She looked around smiling, and others were nodding affirmation.

In that same tired voice, Belloc said, “Angela, Bill says that you must not feel guilty for going out tonight. He was teasing you, that is all.”

Angela seemed to recoil. She said falteringly, “What does he mean? What is he saying? Who was teasing me?”

“Bill…was teasing you.” The fakir must have been tiring because he wasn’t bothering with the accent anymore.

Bill? My husband Bill? Is that what he means? What does he mean? What is he saying?” She looked around as though expecting answers from the audience, but the people around her were deathly still.

“Bill says he loves you…you must not grieve for the…you must not.”

“What are you saying?”

The voice dragged on. “When you see the music box he made you—”

“My father never did!”

“When you listen to the tune ‘By the Light of the Silvery Moon’…”

Angela screamed, her voice ringing shrilly off the rafters and walls. “It’s not true. It’s not Bill. It’s my father. It’s not Bill!”

There was stricken silence in the auditorium. Flynn could almost pick up the soft, tired breaths of Belloc. The spiritualist was gripping the arms of the throne with white-knuckled hands, his eyes were closed, his face tense and pained. Alarmed whispers rustled through the spectators like a fox running through tall grass. The whispers picked up volume and velocity as they flowed through the aisles.

Angela made her way through the row of seats, still crying and protesting, “You’re lying. You’re trying to frighten me. It’s not true. It’s not Bill. It’s not true…” She ran up the aisle followed by her companions, and they hurried out through the double doors, leaving them swinging.

In the wake of her panicked flight a hushed alarm hung over the spellbound audience, all gazes fixed on the man in the golden throne.