Pale as the Dead by Fiona Mountain
(Natasha Blake Ancestor Detective Mysteries)

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This is the first stunning installment of a riveting new mystery series that uncovers the secrets of the dead. Pale as the Dead deals with the mysterious death of Lizzie Siddal, a real and fascinating historical figure whose beauty and tragic life have made her into a legend. (She was the model for the famous painting on the cover of the book.) Lizzie's death has always been shrouded in mystery. She is perhaps best known for the macabre story that tells of her husband, the Pre-Raphaelite artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, having her coffin dug up to retrieve some poems he had buried with her. When the coffin was opened, Lizzie was said to be as beautiful as the day she died.

Pale as the Dead is the story of how the disappearance of a young girl, Bethany, appears to be linked in some way to Lizzie Siddal. Our detective is Natasha Blake, a complex young genealogist with a passion for history. Natasha's career choice is partly driven by the mystery of her own roots--she was abandoned in the hospital as a newborn.

Her mother disappeared hours after giving birth, leaving a false name and address and a note on the back of a picture postcard that said simply, "Her name is Natasha."

Natasha is hired by the missng girl's lover, Adam, whose own life seems to have plenty of dark shadows. An old diary and famous graveyard lead Natasha into more danger than she bargains for--some people will do ANYTHING to keep a secret!

About Fiona Mountain

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Fiona Mountain worked for the BBC for nine years and now runs a public relations company. Her first novel, Isabella, published in 1999, is the only first novel to have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Isabella is a fascinating retelling of the story of the mutiny on the Bounty from the point of view of the forbidden lovers.Pale as the Dead, her second novel, is the start of a highly original new mystery series starring ancestor detective Natasha Blake. The next Natasha Blake mystery is coming soon from Thomas Dunne Books. Fiona Mountain lives in the Cotswolds, is married to composer Tim Mountain, and has three sons. Please visit her intriguing Web site at to learn more about Lizzie Siddal and Natasha Blake.
Published July 1, 2004 by Minotaur Books. 288 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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After breaking up with her boyfriend, Natasha especially welcomes the distraction of a new client, Bethany Marshall, a model in an intriguing series of photographs her edgy boyfriend Adam Mason has based on paintings by the pre-Raphaelites.

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Publishers Weekly

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Still struggling with the scars caused by her belated discovery that she was adopted, the sympathetic Natasha finds herself venturing beyond her usual line of inquiry when Bethany Marshall, a young woman who had modeled for a series of art photographs, disappears.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Natasha Blake and her dog Boris are watching Adam Mason photographing Bethany Marshall as a drowning woman, in the style of the Pre-Raphaelite painters.

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Reviewing the Evidence

When Adam Mason asks Natasha if he can photograph her for his series she reluctantly agrees, but when they meet, Adam tells Natasha that Bethany has disappeared, but has left behind an old and valuable diary, in which Natasha¼s address has been loosely pinned, and Natasha feels compelled to find ...

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The Best Reviews

On a photo shoot in the Cotswold, model Bethany Marshall hires genealogist Natasha Blake to research her family tree.

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