Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Pale as the Dead

Pale as the Dead

Natasha Blake Ancestor Detective (Volume 1)

Fiona Mountain

Minotaur Books



This is the first stunning installment of Fiona Mountain's 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 artist 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 missing 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!


Praise for Pale as the Dead

“An evocative Cotswold setting, a compelling contemporary story interwoven with pre-Raphaelite scandal, and a very human and appealing heroine with a fascinating profession . . . Fiona Mountain's Pale as the Dead has all the right ingredients--I can't wait for Natasha Blake to return.” —Deborah Crombie, author of Dreaming of the Bones

“An original story delightfully told. The link between the present and the pre-Raphaelites with their passions and misfortunes is entirely convincing. Natasha Blake's genealogical detective work takes us from the Cotswolds and Oxford to Highgate Cemetery and back again, and is well worth the journey.” —Anne Perry, author of No Graves As Yet

“Interesting facts and speculations about the pre-Raphaelites and an appealing heroine” —Kirkus Reviews

“Mountain captures the silken creepiness of much of the Pre-Raphaelite story without quite revealing its gorgeous artistic legacy. Natasha is a mystery, too, and readers will be eager to meet her again.” —Booklist

“[An] exhilirating opening debut of a fascinating 'detective' . . . this is a unique tale starring a delightful individual who makes a fine sleuth whether it is the past or the present.” —Harriet Klausner, Midwest Book Review

“[A] unique twist to the conventional mystery . . . non-stop suspense will leave readers eager for future installments in this entrhalling new series.” —Romantic Times Bookclub

“[I]ntriguing . . . The plot is fantastic and gripping. It is well worth the journey back in time.” —Rendezvous Review

“An intriguing and atmospheric plot and cast of characters.” —Midweek (UK)

“A haunting tale.” —Good Housekeeping (UK)

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Fiona Mountain

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.

Fiona Mountain lives in the Cotswolds, is married to composer Tim Mountain, and has three sons.

Fiona Mountain



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