Things Half in Shadow is a historical mystery novel written by Alan Finn. Set in 1869 in post-war Philadelphia, this novel follows the story of Edward Clark, a crime reporter, and Lucy Collins, a spirit medium, as they try to solve the mystery behind some unexpected murders that have occured around them.
Not having read many historical novels before, I delved into this one with quite an enthusiastic manner. I immensely enjoyed the setting, the magical and gothic atmosphere created throughout the story, as well as the mystery involved around the murders committed and certain characters involved.
The storyline is quite engaging from the outset and the author managees to keep the reader wondering what has happened all throughout the story. The language is also very nicely employed in most parts of the novel, and in certain points it is almost reminiscent of the Victorian era writings.
Despite really enjoying reading this book, I must admit that it was really difficult for me to decide on a rating. I started reading it with extremely high expectations, since I usually adore this kind of supernatural stories set in historical eras, and I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere of the novel, which vaguely reminded me of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, one of my absolutely favourite books. However, I think some of the dialogues and exchanges between the characters were somehow too naively laid out for a novel written for an adult audience. I had the same impression of the way certain events turned out as well – they seemed more fitting to a YA novel rather than an adult one.
All in all, I enjoyed this novel and I have to admit that it is a pretty easy and engaging read. The author seems to have researched the topic of spirit mediums, séances and the geography of the place the story is set in depth and this is always a plus for a historical novel. If you enjoy ghost mysteries set in the 19th century, then I think you should give this book a try. It may not be the most thrilling historical mystery, but it will manage to keep you entertained for some time.