An Annie Tillery Mystery

 I first encountered author Linda Frank when I read her third book in the Annie Tillery series The Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys. Linda Frank assured me in an interview that while the books were indeed a series, each one was a stand alone work with Annie and her boyfriend Ty as the central characters.

By The Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys, Linda Frank had fully developed the characters of Annie and Ty, but nothing beats a little sleuthing! I headed to her very first book The Madonna Ghost.

Yes, Linda Frank was correct, the books do stand alone, but there is much to be gleaned from The Madonna Ghost.

Annie Tillery is a somewhat unhappy 17 year old, her father works for the State Department, his exact job is mysterious, however it involves a great deal of travel. Her mother is an alcoholic who spends more time in Rehab than anywhere else.

Her real family is Aunt Jill, or ‘J’ as she is known as. Jill is a detective for the NYPD. The concept is to spend some quiet time on Fire Island in New York. A well deserved vacation, Fire Island is a sleepy place, few people have heard of it, a couple of small villages and not much else.

What could possibly go wrong with a vacation on a sleepy island?

Annie Tillery however has a unique ability to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and possibly with the wrong people! Everyone has secrets, can Annie discover who is naughty and nice on Fire Island?

The perfect  vacation of sun, beaches and sailing starts to go south. Aunt Jill is called back to New York, Annie is basically on her own. Her only real ally is Ty, a college student spending the summer on the island with his uncle.

It does not take Annie long to discover that there is much more going on than meets the eye. Fire Island may be small in size, but it is rich in mystery. At the center lays an apparition known as Madonna’s ghost. The story is a heart breaker, mothers with young babies are forced to abandon ship in a storm. Few survived, Madonna lost her child during the swim to shore. Madonna is said to prowl the shoreline on moonless nights.

I rather like the book, so I am not prepared to take the plot discussion any further. I will leave that for readers to discover by themselves. But I will make some observations, Linda Frank knows her stuff. She is a retired science teacher at both High School and College level. One popular class was ‘forensics’.

The Madonna Ghost is a great way to introduce Young Adult readers to the often convoluted world of science. It is easy to confuse a fictional TV show such as CSI with reality. Linda Frank does use an element of science to tell the story, but much prefers good old common sense.

You can buy your own copy of The Madonna Ghost from the Amazon link at the top of the page.

Simon Barrett

 

 

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