The Lady in Attendance by Allison Pittman (review)

Mixing storylines from 1915 and 2017, the connections grow between magician Dini Blackstone and Hedda Krause as well as between Quinn Carmichael and his great-great grandfather. Dini’s obsession with Hedda, the titular “lady in residence,” and the mysteries around her stay at Menger Hotel bring Quinn to her San Antonio ghost tour. As he shares the items left to his family and they explore the tale in a rare copy of Hedda’s memoir, they grow closer to each other and to solving the puzzle of Hedda’s haunting and the theft of her jewels.

Obsession, haunting, faith, events and people not being what they seem. In The Lady in Residence, Allison Pittman has created two singular women and woven an intriguing mystery from the past with a sweet story of modern romance and detection. There was so much to enjoy in this first entry in the multi-author Doors to the Past series, and it is no wonder that they led off with a book by Allison Pittman.

Recommended.

This review refers to a temporary digital galley that I requested and voluntarily read via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman (Doors to the Past, book one) | Barbour Fiction, February 2021 | ebook, 239 pages