Friday, September 07, 2012

Danny's Tune

By Donna H. Parker
Cozy Mystery ● 310 pages ● Cover art by Pat Evans
Irish ghosts come in many forms. The murderous one that has haunted Danny Egan from childhood may not even be dead. Constancy knows they can’t avoid Danny’s past while they’re in Ireland. She prays the encounter will bring healing, because if it goes bad, the result could forever silence Danny’s tune.

We pushed on through the bushes and vines right up to the stone wall, and began to make our way around the ruins.

I suddenly caught a snatch of sound that stopped me in my tracks. “Danny, what’s that?” I couldn’t get my voice above a whisper.

“What?” Instantly on alert, he lowered his voice to match mine.

“A sound. I heard a sound, like a far-off wail. Not quite... Well, it didn’t sound quite human.”

He listened for a moment. Of course, while he was listening, I heard nothing.

“Ghosts, is it?” he asked, with a smile.

“Shhh. Danny, I was joking about ghosts, but something’s making that noise. Listen a minute longer.”

Once more I heard it. Irish human or ghost or banshee. After hearing it, I could have believed in any of them. The eeriness of the cry made the hair stand up on my arms. “Danny, can’t you hear it?”

“I do now. It’s very odd.”

I started to speak but he held up a hand for silence, and mouthed the word, “Wait!”

So I waited, while the thin, distant wail came again and again.

I clutched Danny’s arm.

“Come on,” he whispered. “As quietly as we can.”

He led me on around a ragged corner of wall until we could see down into what must have been the cellars of the manor house. The light shone in only dimly. Roots and vines had invaded the space. It did not look inviting. We walked farther around. The wail came again.

“Almost there,” Danny said. “Somebody must be trapped down there. I think I remember a staircase a bit farther on.... Yes, it looks solid enough.”

“We’re going d-down?”

“I’m going down and you’re to stay exactly here.”

“Okay. Danny…”

He shot me a grin. “I know. I fully intend to be careful.”

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