Friday Book-Love,  Guest Posts

Mae Clair’s Cusp of Night: Mystery. Suspense. A hint of the supernatural.

Thank you, Denise, for having me as your guest today! I’ve brought along my book, Cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel that employs dual timelines with elements of the supernatural.

For the past timeline, I delve into aspects of Spiritualism in the late 19th Century. This was a period when sham mediums were so common many advertised their services in the classified ads of local papers. People were intrigued by oddities, flocking to any traveling circus or sideshow, lured by promises of seeing three-legged men, conjoined twins, or bearded women. Is it any wonder they believed someone could breach the Aether and connect with spirits in Summerland?

Some mediums were magicians, others genuine, still others, charlatans. The frauds were deft in plying their trade and used multiple tricks to swindle their customers. Below are just a few of the most popular:Victorian woman holding candlestick looking out rainy window.

A medium would research the background of “sitters” who planned to attend their séance. This included visiting cemeteries to learn family ancestry and asking seemingly innocent questions of townspeople to garner inside information.

Mediums often had trap doors and sliding panels installed in the rooms they used for séances. This allowed assistants, made up with costumes and wigs, to appear from the darkness in the guise of spirits summoned from the grave.

Other times, a medium might use balloons, painted with faces. These would bob from the darkness on invisible wires or would be held by assistants cloaked head to toe in black. Sitters would take the ghostly representatives as the embodiment of departed loved ones.

A skilled medium—many had honed their trades as magicians or ventriloquists—could throw their voice to make a disembodied balloon (or other object) seem a spectre from beyond the grave.

Cheesecloth was often used to create “ectoplasm.” Mediums concealed this in their mouth or other body cavity (yes, even intimate ones) to produce ghostly manifestations. In later years, mediums would strip nude, allowing themselves to be probed to make certain nothing was hidden anywhere. The skilled still had a way of getting around these examinations.

A medium easily produced “table tilting”—a common trick spirits employed to announce their presence—through use of a hook attached to a belt or a foot. Invisible wires were common ploys to produce everything from ringing bells and chimes to having objects soar through a dark room.

Charlatans knew what they were doing, but Lucinda Glass, the medium in my book, had to learn the tricks of the trade to rise above the circumstances of her birth. She’s mentored by a man who is determined to make her the toast of society. Unfortunately, not all turns out as planned.

Here’s the blurb:

Banner ad for cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by author, Mae CllairBLURB
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

PURCHASE HERE

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Book Bub | Website & Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Goodreads | Amazon | Other Social Links

bio box for author Mae Clair

Fantasy & paranormal romance author. Witch. Tarot reader. Possibly a woodland faerie. Witches, magic, & romance await in the pages of my stories.

16 Comments

  • Judith Post

    So happy this book and series received Top 10 Paranormal Mystery Series as chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com! Woohoo!!! Well-deserved. I loved all of the research that went into this story. And your writing? Well, it’s some of the best.

  • Michele A Jones

    Excellent description of what really happened when mediums held their sittings. So many people were fooled. I enjoyed Cusp of Night and I am looking forward to the December release of Eventide.

    • Mae Clair

      Hi, Michele. Researching the practices of mediums during this era was utterly fascinating. I almost hated to stop and start writing, LOL. Thank you for all of your support! It is so appreciated!

    • Mae Clair

      Teri, the research for this series was utterly fascinating. I still love reading more about it, even now, when it’s behind me.
      Thanks so much for visiting with me and Denise today!

  • Mae Clair

    Teri, the research for this series was utterly fascinating. I still love reading more about it, even now, when it’s behind me.
    Thanks so much for visiting with me and Denise today!

  • Staci Troilo

    I’m fascinated with the time period. I know it was wrong to take advantage of people, but their methods are so interesting. A lot more so than today’s “Nigerian Prince” scammers. You did a fabulous job bringing this aspect of the past to life in your book, Mae. Glad to see you spotlighted here.

    Denise, thank you for showcasing Mae and her work today.