Nubian Circle Book Club

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Celia: A Haunting Mystery Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

Celia:  A Haunting Mystery by S. L. Cullars opens in North Carolina, where we find Cheryl, a successful New York brokerage firm owner, settling her recently deceased grandmother's estate.  After meeting with the handsome, debonair attorney and executor of the will, Arthur Blevins, she unexpectedly discovers the family home is left to her instead of its current occupant, Aunt Gladys.  This single act causes Aunt Gladys quite a bit of consternation as she is fearful that Cheryl will sell the house and leave her homeless.  Cheryl quickly dismisses this fear and the two women quickly realize that they share similar experiences - sightings of Celia, Gladys's late sister.  Celia's apparition, which begins appearing more frequently at inopportune times in heightening states of anguish, sparks Cheryl's interest into Celia's accidental death nearly 30 years before. 
Cheryl's investigation takes her to the esteemed Graham estate to confront a man who belongs to a very powerful and conniving family who has members in the North Carolina Senate and Supreme Court.  She eventually learns that their families share a sordid, painful, tangled history that many would rather keep buried at all cost.  After several close encounters with death, Cheryl, with help from both aunts and Arthur, brings the long-buried truth to the surface and reveals forbidden romances, deep family secrets, racially inspired misgivings, hidden pregnancies, and murders by some unlikely, unexpected culprits.  Cullars also sprinkles in a fateful romance between Cheryl and Arthur.
Despite a somewhat slow start, the book quickened its pace and turned into an attention-grabber!  It evolves into a gripping novel filled with strong dialogue, a touch of the surreal, solid character development, and vivid descriptions.  It is an engaging and suspenseful story-recommended for mystery lovers.

The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for Celia: A Haunting Mystery is 3.5 out of 5 stars. We welcome your comments and thoughts about this book review.  Please e-mail us: