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New Slain Knight: The Haunted Ballad Series    by Deborah Grabien order for
New Slain Knight
by Deborah Grabien
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

In the newest addition to her popular and critically acclaimed Haunted Ballad Mystery Series, Deborah Grabien serves up a remarkable tale of music, spirits, paranormal experiences, and murder.

When New Slain Knight opens, Glastonbury musician Ringan Laine (the guitarist with the Broomfield Hill group) and his girlfriend Penny Wintercraft-Hawkes embark on a well-deserved three-week getaway to Cornwall. Accompanying them is Ringan's thirteen year old niece, Rebecca Laine Eisler, a talented violinist and strikingly beautiful young girl who is taking some time off away from her family because of her grandmother's medical problems.

While in Cornwall, and while houseguests of Ringan's friend Gowan Camborne (a musician with the Tin Miners group), Penny and Rebecca begin having disturbing experiences: As they listen to certain songs being performed - especially the ballad New Slain Knight in which a man pretends to be dead to find out if his girlfriend really loves him - both Penny and Rebecca find themselves having powerful paranormal visions.

Penny's and Rebecca's life-threatening visions and experiences all seem to point to an ancient - and perhaps a more recent - secret involving Gowan Camborne's family. Fifteenth century romance, jealousy, incest, disastrous pregnancy, drowning, and murder are the keys to the mystery, and Penny and Ringan - if they are to protect themselves and young Rebecca from almost certain disaster - must hurry to find out why disturbed spirits from the past are apparently trapped and harrowing people in otherwise peaceful and beautiful contemporary Cornwall.

Atmospheric, richly detailed, and provocative, New Slain Knight combines music, the supernatural, suspense, and ancient mysticism into a beguiling adventure. Not one to offer up your typical whodunit for conventional mystery readers, author Deborah Grabien has once again produced a unique thriller that is overflowing with musical and historical treasures.

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