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My Lady of the Bog
     

My Lady of the Bog

by Peter Hayes
 

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My Lady of the Bog follows the American anthropologist, Xander Donne, as he seeks to unravel the ultimate "cold case": that of a beautiful young woman found in an English bog, her nude body pinned down with stakes. Though she's thought at first to be a recent murder victim, Donne identifies her as an ancient sacrifice, wondrously preserved by the bog's airless waters,

Overview

My Lady of the Bog follows the American anthropologist, Xander Donne, as he seeks to unravel the ultimate "cold case": that of a beautiful young woman found in an English bog, her nude body pinned down with stakes. Though she's thought at first to be a recent murder victim, Donne identifies her as an ancient sacrifice, wondrously preserved by the bog's airless waters, and dead for 700 years!

During his examination of her body, he pulls off the rune-inscribed stakes. Too late he learns their inscription warns against precisely this, saying, "Do not remove these stakes. This woman is a witch." Donne's investigation into the mysterious woman's identity and frightful death takes him from contemporary England to India's medieval Moghul Empire, embroiling him in an illicit passion with a gorgeous, enigmatic Deshi princess with, just maybe, a penchant for murder.

Peter Hayes' mystery is a meditation on the meaning of human sacrifice, a love story and historical mystery enfolded within a modern one.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/14/2014
Despite the subtitle, readers should be prepared for a mix of noir thriller, historical romance, and dark fantasy in this offbeat contemporary mystery from Hayes (The Feathered Serpent). Summoned when Dorset peat diggers uncover the naked, perfectly preserved, centuries-old body of a beautiful young woman, American anthropologist Xander filches a book from the treasure trove buried with her and sends it to his mentor, Jai Prasad, for translation. After Jai is hacked to death, Xander finds himself in possession of Jai's bewitching young widow, Vidya, and also increasingly possessed by the passionate tale found in the ancient book, which echoes and comments on his contemporary dilemma. The lovers flee the suspicious police, while Xander tries to decipher linguistic clues to the lady's identity. The story's parts seem to have been dumped in a bag and shaken together, but it's never dull. Agent: Kenneth Wapner, Literary Services (Apr.)
Library Journal
04/01/2014
Alexander (Xander) Donne is an aspiring American anthropologist who lives in England's Dorset countryside. One night a mummified corpse, dating back to the 13th century, is found buried in the peat. An ancient book, found on site and written in Indic runes, holds the key to the corpse's identity; Xander impetuously sends it off to Jai, his mentor and a noted Indic scholar, for translation. Xander learns that the victim was probably a witch, and he comes to believe her spirit is affecting present-day events. Then Jai is murdered; Jai's new bride, Vidya, is the prime suspect; and Xander is passionately attracted to her. Murders continue, and he must stop the witch's power. More realistically, he must apprehend a cold-blooded killer. VERDICT While Hayes (The Feathered Serpent) is to be commended for his scholarly historical research and a valiant stab at a dual narrative, ultimately his two stories become unnecessarily murky and difficult to follow. Consider for those who relish an unusual gothic imbued with legend.
New York Journal of Books - William Dietrich
In My Lady of the Bog, Peter Hayes turns the discovery of a beautiful female cadaver into an enchanting murder mystery, ghost story romance. The concept is great fun, enlivened by Hayes' brisk and handsome writing style. Hayes has a knack for descriptive metaphors that capture in a phrase what some writers might belabor a paragraph on. It is a page-turner with a corpse we can fall in love with, runes we should have read, and a sword-hacked scholar in a carpeted study of prim, modern-day London.
Thinking about Books - David Marshall
A genuinely innovative piece of writing by Peter Hayes. This is one of those pleasingly unclassifiable books that flirts with genres as if they had no meaning. The author plays a very skillful game, nicely blending police procedural with historical mystery, adventure yarnery, witchcraft, spells and curses, and modern thriller as our hero confronts the demons in our psychological make-up. An entrancing read and recommended.
Detective Mystery Stories - Tom Johnson
This was a well-written mystery tale, set in modern times, but has a Victorian feel: though that may merely be because of the setting. It held my interest from beginning to end. The author makes the reader imagine ghosts, goblins, witches and fairies. And in the end you may be left wondering if there might have been a supernatural setting after all? Highly recommended, and I was surprised by the ending.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781579623548
Publisher:
Permanent Press, The
Publication date:
04/01/2014
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

PETER HAYES' prize-winning fiction first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly. He is author of The Supreme Adventure, a book on yoga and Eastern philosophy, and The Feathered Serpent, a thriller. He has traveled widely, living, studying and working for extended periods in India and in England. His company, TARA, provides communications for organizations, large and small. A talented harmonica player, he fronts the band Petey-Boy. Peter was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy and at Harvard College, where he studied writing with Bernard Malamud. He lives in New York's Hudson Valley with his wife, Uma, and their son, Siddhartha.

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