If Agatha Christie included paranormal elements in her house party murder mysteries, the results would have probably been something similar to Bachar’s short story. The Importance of Being Emily has all of the hallmarks of a traditional historical romance, including very conservative beliefs about a woman’s “place”. However, the story is absolutely doused in occult magic, vampires, mind readers and other sorts of magic. This is a wonderfully imaginative tale that begs a re-read just so that every detail and nuance can be savored.

Miss Emily Wright is a seer who can can read others' auras and sometimes their minds. Despite her powerful abilities, she chooses to use her skills for domestic matters, most frequently by playing matchmaker to help soul mates pair off. However, when a murder takes place while Emily is attending a gathering of magicians at Willowbrook Hall, she decides to turn her talents to a much more serious task. Emily knows an innocent man has been accused of the deed and she vows to find the real culprit, which should not be very difficult. Not only was the murder committed in a distinctive manner, Emily also has the assistance of her good friend Mr. Michael Black. Michael is in the middle of an apprenticeship to the mystical Order of St. Jerome, and has skills of his own that he uses to aid Emily. But what should have been a simple case becomes much more complicated when Emily opens herself to her own magic and learns that Michael her soul mate ... and he will be dead within the year. (SAMHAIN, May 2011. dl. $3.50)

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Reviewed by: 
Dawn Crowne