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Poison to Purge Melancholy: A Pat Montello Mystery    by Elena Santangelo order for
Poison to Purge Melancholy
by Elena Santangelo
Order:  USA  Can
Midnight Ink, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Good news. Elena Santangelo is back in print. After an unwelcome hiatus, her third book in the Pat Montella series is available for your reading enjoyment. Just as a reminder, Elena (one of my very favorite authors) delivers history along with a really good mystery. Using the past as a catalyst, she works it into the present, proving that what happened in history can have repercussions in modern times.

Her characters in Poison to Purge Melancholy live in 1780s Williamsburg. Elena's meticulous research allows the reader to dog the footsteps of the residents of the famous historical site, live with them in their colonial homes, wear their everyday dress, almost taste their foods, and speak a more stilted English than we speak today. Pat Montella and her ninety-year-old friend Maggie travel to Williamsburg to spend Christmas with her boyfriend's family. Ghosts seem to always find Pat and this case is no exception. A murder back in post-Revolution times haunts Pat and those in the house who are receptive to ghostly meanderings.

I can't in good conscience reveal the intriguing plot that rebounds with whispers from the past. Elena's great sense of humor, happily, is still alive and well. The incredible Christmas repast that graces the groaning board in today's story reflects a menu from days gone by. No wonder they lived shorter lives than we do now. The boyfriend's family is a hoot and Pat, with her Italian background, is a person who might be living next door. Wish she lived next door to me.

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