The duke has just returned from the Napoleonic wars on the Iberian Peninsula with a wound in his shin, where a musket ball was lodged. He is weary, cynical, and very bored. Known as the worst rake in England, he finds he has no interest in upholding that distinction, when his friend, the Marquis of Somerset, proposes a bet: “Five thousand guineas says that seducing Miss Elise Edwards will cure your ennui.” Because his friend has just lost a packet to him, he agrees that the bet be posted in White’s famous Betting Book.
The following day, he has a most unsettling experience. Walking in Green Park, he spies a mysterious young woman, veiled, and obviously grieving. A disembodied voice, sounding strangely like that of his late adjutant, informs him, “The jig is up. That is the girl you are going to marry!” He scoffs, but is nevertheless intrigued by something about the slight figure. He even sketches her and asks if he can be of assistance to her. She declines his offer kindly.
At the opera that evening, he is again intrigued by a beauty across the Opera Hall. He hears the same voice, saying the same thing. The marquis informs him that the woman in question is Miss Elise Edwards. When he meets her, he recognizes her voice as that of the woman in the park. Now she is surrounded by a surfeit of ex-fiance’s, one of them dangerously unbalanced. Ruisdell discovers an actual bond between them which makes him honor bound to protect her.
Thus begins a train of unstoppable events–dangerous, humorous, devilish, and amorous–that carry his life along at such a pace that the duke soon knows not whether he is on his head or his heels. And then there is that bet . . .
It is December of 1913 in Vienna and Amalia Faulhaber is surrounded by the whirlwind that is the life of a nineteen-year-old socialite. She is comfortable and confident in her wealth, her heritage, and most of all, in her engagement to the Prussian baron, Eberhard von Waldburg. All this comes crashing to a halt the day that her fiance informs her that their engagement is off since he is returning to Prussia to fight in what he is sure will be a glorious war.
Thus begins the tale of a heroine of extraordinary background and resource who develops into a woman who would be extraordinary in any age. The men in her life—a German officer in World War I, a patriotic Polish doctor, and an Austrian Baron, all shape her, but more remarkably she shapes them. Her utopian socialist uncle has raised her with ideas outside those of the upper classes, imparting to her a more complete picture of the day than possessed by the other men in her life. This quality causes her to champion the Austrian Democratic Experiment and to especially mourn its demise.
The Last Waltz is full of little known history of a land that was, in 1913, the apex of the world’s of science, medicine, art, and music. The speed with which the five-hundred year old empire fell, and the reasons behind that failure carry many warnings for the world we live in today.
What would you do with a month in Italy?
Alexandra Campbell, a spunky young widow, partnered with Brighamina Poulson, an even spunkier, rifle-toting grandmother thinks that as they have begun a genealogy business (RootSearch, Inc.), it is high time she finds out her family secret. Something went wrong in her family during her adolescence, changing her mother from a Chicago North Shore matron into an alcoholic and a doting father into a workaholic. The moment she graduated from High School, she was sent to the Sorbonne in Paris with a generous bank account and instructions not to return.
It is now fifteen years since she has seen her parents, and she intends to lay the ghost that has separated her family for good. However, as usual in Alex’s unpredictable life, things do not go as planned. After an acrimonious fight with her once beloved father, she leaves with only a wallet-sized photograph of a woman she knows nothing about.
That night, Alex’s father is killed. Bewildered and grieved that her family can never be whole again, she soon finds out that she is the chief suspect in the murder. With the unflappable Briggie at her side, she uses all her new genealogical skills, and (with the help of Briggie’s deer rifle) discovers a secret so bizarre that she finally understands why her parents wanted her far away and safe.
Book 1 of the Alex and Briggie mystery series.
Where do You Start Looking for a Missing Ancestor without a Name with Whom You Share an Inheritance?
At their last known address—The Argonne Forest, France, 1919.
In their previous adventure, Alexandra Campbell and her business partner, Brighamina Poulson, discover a branch of Alex’s family that was previously unknown. Because of wicked deeds in days gone by, a soldier in World War I who should have been part of Alex’s family was lost. In fact, he was so lost, he didn’t even know his own name!
Through a series of coincidences (and we all know there are no coincidences in genealogy!) they track their man from France to Oxford, and even give him a name. However, upon their arrival in Oxford, before they even contact the man’s descendants, a member of the family is pushed under a bus right before their eyes! It soon becomes evident that the death was connected to the coming legacy. Who knew they were coming to Oxford with news of a fortune? What role does the mysterious Frenchman Etienne play in the dastardly doings? And what about Charles Lamb, a very eligible bachelor, also an heir to the estate?
Briggie is lost without her deer rifle and can’t keep up on the standing of her Kansas City Royals Baseball Team. She doesn’t think much of Oxford, either, and is worried about the effect of this center of secular wisdom on Alex. She is even more worried about Charles Lamb.
Book 2 of the Alex and Briggie mystery series.
Who’s Telling the Truth?
Holly Weston, a teenager locked down in drug rehab, claims she’s never used drugs, but that her incarceration is all a plot by her parents. Why? To establish her mental incompetency so she won’t discover that they’ve embezzled the fortune she is about to inherit. Her grandmother, a slightly dotty widow claims that her father was murdered when she was nineteen, after which she dyed her hair platinum, went to Hollywood, and met Clark Gable (and her husband). Holly’s mother, a rigid, disapproving figure, tells Alex and Briggie both her her mother and daughter are lying, forbidding them to dig any further among the family’s roots.
What in the world are Alex and Briggie up to now? Holly’s counselor has hired them to do a genogram or psychological pedigree, to find where the family secrets are hiding. She is convinced Holly’s mother is frightened for Holly. Why does Mrs. Weston refuse to acknowledge her grandfather’s murder? What is she so afraid of the RootSearch, Inc. team discovering about her family?
What does the family history have to do with: another murder, Holly’s disappearance, and the strange trio of middle-aged men who are following Briggie and Alex and her mother?
Alex accepted this case in order to be back with her mother for a while, now that she has emerged from her rehabilitation. A fifteen year estrangement has rendered them strangers, and she feels it her duty to try to mend the rift. Her mother proves to be “pluck to the backbone” as Alex’s British suitor, Charles, says. The four of them soon become mired in Holly’s unexpectedly tangled roots, with surprising off-shoots surfacing all over the country. Encountering both danger and new friends, they also take responsibility for a slew of eccentric pets. Amidst the action, Alex’s love life takes a turn that both baffles and scares her.
Join our genealogical sleuths as they strive, as always, to find out the real truth that is at the “root” of this family’s dysfunction and fear, enabling it to take the first steps to healing.
This is Book 3 of the Alex and Briggie Mystery Series
What Was King Arthur’s True Identity?
In the tradition of Mary Higgins Clark, The Arthurian Omen takes Maren Southcott to Wales on a hunt for an ancient manuscript that precipitated her sister’s murder.
When Maren Southcott’s sister, a noted Welsh Scholar, is murdered immediately after she has discovered news of a relic that would prove King Arthur’s identity, dangerous event are put in motion. As Maren hunts for her sister’s killer, she knows the best way to find him is to go after the manuscript herself.
Soon she has not only the police, but MI5, and two rival Celtic scholars joining her search. Unbeknownst to her, among them is an Arthur-obsessed psychopath who needs the fifth-century manuscript as the “magic” token necessary to incite a Welsh revolution, overthrowing the Windsor Dynasty and restoring the Britain of Arthur’s time.
G.G. Vandagriff weaves a tale of mystery and suspense as Maren and her followers follow a trail winding through Welsh castles and monasteries. When her daughter is kidnapped and the manuscript specified as ransom, her chase grows desperate as she must outwit her followers and be first to discover Arthur’s omen.
Child Custody – The Down and Dirty Divorce Guide by Clarence Acheson is a survival and sanity guide for the most painful part of a contested divorce—child custody. This book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble