The Spirit of Grace is the first book of the Sarah Bennett Mysteries series by Terry Lynn Thomas.
Sarah Bennett doesn’t remember the night her mother tumbled down the stairs at Bennett House, despite allegedly witnessing the fatal fall. There was talk of foul play, dark whispers, and sidelong glances, all aimed at Sarah, prompting her family to send her to The Laurels, an exclusive asylum in San Francisco, under a cloud of suspicion. Now, on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s murder, Sarah has been summoned home. Convinced of her innocence, she returns to Bennett House, hoping to put the broken pieces of her life back together. But when another murder occurs shortly after her arrival, Sarah once again finds herself a suspect, as she is drawn into a web of suspicion and lies.
In order to clear her name, Sarah must remember what happened the fateful night her mother died. But as she works to regain her memory, the real murderer watches, ready to kill again to protect a dark family secret.
A Word from the Author
San Francisco, California, October 1942: Sarah Bennett has always been strange. Sarah also has a secret. She hears and sees things that others don’t. Much of her life is spent hiding this from her family. When Sarah’s mother, Jessica, tumbles down the stairs at Bennett House, Sarah is discovered incoherent and cradling her mother in her arms. Soon the townspeople and Sarah’s family become suspicious of Sarah. Did she push her mother to her death? In an attempt to stave off a police investigation and to care for Sarah before she breaks down completely, her family sends her to an exclusive asylum in San Francisco for a rest cure.
Now, on the one-year anniversary Sarah is summoned home by her father, who hopes to reconstruct the night his wife fell to her death in order to discover what really happened and put the matter to rest once and for all.
But things have changed while Sarah has been away. American is at war now, and people say that Bennett Cove, a small coastal town just north of San Francisco, is a hot bed of spy activity. Sarah’s father–Jack Bennett, the famous mystery writer–has married a much younger woman, who is trying to run the house like a tight ship. Jack has also hired a personal assistant, Zeke, who has secrets of his own. Soon another suspicious death occurs. When Sarah is branded a suspect in this murder, she sets out to find the truth, while the real murderer watches, ready to do anything to protect a dark family secret.
(Terry Lynn Thomas, August 2016)