In Charlotte MacLeod’s The Silver Ghost, the eighth book in the Sarah Kelling/ Max Bittersohn series, Nehemiah (Bill) Billingsgate has lost one of his prized antique Rolls Royces! Unwilling to interrupt his annual Medieval Revel, Bill calls in family friends Max and Sarah Bittersohn, who usually investigate art crimes but are happy to help out their friend in checking out suspects by mingling at the Medieval Revel. To prevent guests from trying to access the car barn, which would give away the fact that the New Phantom has disappeared, Bill has dressed up his gardening assistant in a velvet medieval costume and outfitted him as guard over the car barn with a toadslogger, a kind of medieval flail.
But when Sarah’s Aunt Bode, who prides herself on her self-discipline and 4-mile walks after each dinner, disappears too, Sarah and Max seek out Rufus at the car shed only to find him missing as well. With the further discovery of the theft of Bill’s Rolls Royce Silver Ghost from the apparently untouched and untouchable car shed, life becomes even more bizarre.
It becomes clear that the Billingsgates have some kind of an enemy, as they have been experiencing strange and potentially disastrous sabotage at their privately-owned local radio stations devoted to uplifting and wholesome music and homilies by Bill. With the search for Aunt Bode becoming even more dire, the investigation into everything happening to the Billingsgates gradually comes together.
The Silver Ghost reunites us with some of the delightful characters from previous books, in particular the members of the “Codfish Crowd” met in The Convivial Codfish. The Billingsgates, devout Christians, live out their faith with their wholesome radio stations and make candles to donate to churches from the bees’ wax left over from Abigail’s bees from which she collects honey and makes mead to sell to medieval festivals. I especially appreciate a particular quote by Bill: “Whom the Lord loves, he chastens. But I’m feeling excessively loved right now!”
Andi Arndt performs the audio version with good success, giving a strong sense of the uniqueness of the individual characters in this series.
The Silver Ghost has a particularly strong and enjoyable mystery plot. The whole series is great fun, but this book is one of my favorite ones. With plenty of creative twists and turns, the book reads quickly and deserves its five stars. The book is available in multiple formats. To order from Amazon, click here. You may also find it in your local bookstore or library.