“As the crow flies” by Karen F. Williams it is a captivating mystery novel involving paranormal elements, a ghost story and two glimpses of lesbian romance.
As the title suggests, a crow and two bookends bring the main characters together and triggers the course of action.
The narration at first person, from Sam’s point of view is very nice, but I would have loved to know more from Gwen’s point of view, too.
We have two lesbian romances involved in the storyline, Sam and Gwen’s and Liz and Isabel’s.
I loved how their lives are entwined and enjoyed all their moments of joy and also, those of sadness or indecision.
The two lesbian romances mixed up with the paranormal elements and the mysterious sensations the ghost story provides are the perfect combination of a successful mystery novel.
The book start introduces Samantha Weller, a mystery writer at the peak of her career, who finds an ancient bookend and wants to find it’s match. The bookend is more of a piece of art, with a raven carved on it and a book. She asks for help from her sister-in-law Liz who owes an antique shop and she’s a very hippie-art-open minded woman who brings joy in Sam’s life.
Samantha Weller has been through a lot in the past, she was a forensic scientist turned into a mystery writer and also, had the writer’s block until one crazy night during the hurricane Bertha, she was rescued by a crow from a terrible accident who didn’t happened, thanks to the crow. Sam has adopted the crow and named her Bertha and since then they are inseparable and lucky for Sam, her writing has improved while inspired by her avian muse.
Sam’s love life, on the other hand, it’s not doing so good. She has some dates, but all the women are scared off by Bertha. I think that was ingenious set by Karen F. Williams. It is also very funny.
Sam likes Liz and loves her free spirit and enjoys her shop and her company and it’s also amazed on how Liz’s allure takes on the many women Liz dates, sometimes two at a time. Yet, Liz is unable to settle down, nor find the love of her life.
Sam and Liz form a beautiful friendship and enjoy each other’s company. So, when Sam asks Liz to find a potential seller for her bookend’s mate and Liz finally finds someone and they decide to go together at the seller’s property.
This is how Sam meets philosophy professor Gwen Laraway and Liz meets Gwen’s niece, Isabel.
Gwen’s estate is truly beautiful, a paradise, she and Isabel live together with their maid and try to make it even more beautiful than it is. Sam and Gwen’s discussions are really pleasant, Sam is smitten by Gwen, just as Liz is smitten by Isabel.
I loved how their relationships develop and how they entwine within the storyline.
Gwen and Sam visit more and get to know each other, I loved their talks on art, philosophy and paranormal (like the terrifying sublime by Kant or how Tesla loved pigeons), Sam even brings Bertha to Gwen’s estate and the crow really enjoys it and doesn’t want to leave home with Sam.
Liz and Isabel also visit more often, yet Liz is taken aback with Isabel’s reluctance and doesn’t realizes it’s more like shyness and lack of experience and perhaps fear of intimacy.
There are many up’s and down’s in the plot, like when Gwen understands her feelings for Sam, but fears the age difference will be an issue in the future. Or, when Liz couldn’t take it anymore and does a mistake.
The turning point is the paranormal element of course, when Sam discovers Gwen’s property is haunted and the ghost doesn’t like her presence very much.
I really loved the writing style, especially how every action entwines perfectly with the existing others and the evolution of the relationships between the characters.
Will Gwen trust Sam enough to continue the relationship?
Will Sam help Gwen get out of the age difference issue?
Will Liz earn Isabel’s affections?
Will Isabel get over her fear of intimacy?
Who’s the ghost?
Will Sam win the ghost’s trust?
Excerpts from the book: