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The Sirens of Suspense



Return To Our Roots: item1

Carolyn Hart, ESCAPE FROM PARIS (1982/2013), THE DEVEREAUX LEGACY (1986/2013), SKULDUGGERY (1984/2012)

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Recently, Seventh Street Books has re-released several of Carolyn Hart's non-series books, which is more than wonderful. Carolyn is one of the women who helped create the genre as we know it - and has been invaluable in helping those who followed, through her co-founding of Sisters in Crime. Though you may know her for her Death on Demand, Henrie O, and Bailey Ruth Raeburn series, the non-series books were my first introduction to Carolyn. Though some may term these books romantic suspense, they have just enough of both to make fans of both separate genres happy.


Here are three of those:

ESCAPE FROM PARIS was, at the original publisher's request, much shorter. This re-release will be the first time the novel is published as originally written (an addition of 40,000 words). The story revolves around two American sisters living in Paris during World War II who save and hide a British airman from the Nazis. Not only does the book delve into the moral issues faced by non-Jews during the occupation, but paints a grim picture of Paris in the 1940s and the terrified citizens trapped there. 

First Sentence: "He sat alone in his office, his massive shoulders leaning forward, his withered legs covered by an afghan."

(Fans of this may also enjoy Rebecca Cantrell's Hannah Vogel series, or vice versa.)


THE DEVEREAUX LEGACY is a fabulous old-school gothic romance. But don't worry, it's got plenty of mystery too. Leah Devereaux thinks her parents drowned nearly twenty years ago, but when her grandmother dies, she finds an article and a partially written letter that leads her to track down her remaining family in South Carolina. There, at the Deveraux plantation, she meets equal parts of welcome, suspicion, family secrets, and a growing number of unanswered questions. And, of course, there's a ghost.  Gothic suspense being my thing, this is probably my favorite - and the most pure fun - of the three.

First Sentence: "Leah looked up at the cross-topped steeple, then pushed through the iron gate in the old brick wall eas of the church."

(Fans of this may also enjoy Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, Victoria Holt, or vice versa.)


SKULDUGGERY, set in San Francisco in the 1980's, features Elllen, a young anthropologist, who seems to need a little more excitement in her life. She finds it in the form of a young Chinese man who knocks on her door, asking for her help as it appears he's found the long lost bones of the Peking Man. Slowly, Ellen is drawn into political and historical intrigue, and experiences the underground of Chinatown, where immigrants work for pennies and live in squalor.  Like in ESCAPE FROM Paris, Hart again illustrates her brilliance at immersing the reader into a different culture in her descriptions of Chinatown, and deftly explores the moral struggles of someone thrown into a culture not their own.

First Sentence: "He may have followed me right from the moment I left the office."

(Fans of this may also enjoy Elizabeth Peters and Gigi Pandian, or vice versa.)


WHAT AUTHOR MOST INFLUENCED YOUR EARLY READING? Tell us your thoughts further down on this page, or by commenting on this blog entry on our Facebook page to be entered to win an ARC of one of the above books! (US Residents only, please.)