This month for our Throwback book we’re diving into Shattered Silk by Barbara Michaels, Book Two in the Georgetown Trilogy. It is a bit of a mystery, a bit of romance, a quaint vintage clothing boutique, and combined with some deadly events, it is a book we’ve reread many a time.
Shattered Silk Book #2 of the Georgetown Trilogy By Barbara Michaels
Karen Nevitt has brought new life to old, abandoned things. Her vintage clothing collection, nestled away in Washington, D.C.’s picturesque Georgetown, features exquisite designer originals from decades past. But there is something deadly sewn into the lace and delicate fabrics she has—clues to a forgotten mystery that is pulling Karen into a dark and terrifying place.
A secret once locked away in old trunks and dusty attics is crying out for justice, and only she can make things right. But a killer still lurking in the shadows has decided that the truth must remain hidden . . . and Karen Nevitt must die.
Originally published in 1968, Shattered Silk is a timeless mystery that continues to intrigue readers.
Shattered silk is a term describing the effect of time on silk. The silk shatters along the seams, leaving slash-like tears. For Karen Nevitt, shattered silk is more than a term applied to material. It’s an apt description of her life as she emerges from an abusive marriage, her confidence shattered. Barbara Michaels’ portrayal of Karen Nevitt’s struggles to rebuild her life will resonate with many women.
Like shattered silk, repairing her life, as she soon discovers, has hidden dangers she never anticipated. Shattered Silk has it all. A mystery with twists and turns to keep the reader turning the pages, engaging characters, even a dog you will love to hate romance, and a finale the reader won’t see coming.
Several of Barbara Michaels’s books grace my bookshelf. I wouldn’t even attempt to guess how many times I have read Shattered Silk over the years. In fact, I have all three books in the Georgetown Trilogy: Ammie, Come Home, Book 1, and Stitches in Time, Book 3.
A Time Travel Review from the Mystery Review Crew.
The First Book In The Georgetown Series:
It begins as a lark — a harmless diversion initiated by Washington, D.C., hostess Ruth Bennett as a means of entertaining her visiting niece, Sara. But the séance conducted in Ruth’s elegant Georgetown home calls something back; something unwelcome … and palpably evil.
Suddenly Sara is speaking in a voice not her own, transformed into a miserable, whimpering creature so unlike her normal, sensible self. No tricks or talismans will dispel the malevolence that now plagues the inhabitants of this haunted place — until a dark history of treachery, lust, and violence is exposed. But the cost might well be the sanity and the lives of the living.
The Last Book In The Georgetown Series:
When an antique bridal quilt appears under mysterious circumstances at the vintage clothing shop where Rachel Grant works, she is fascinated. She has never been able to resist handmade textiles from the past, for she believes that through the ages, women wove protective magic into their fabrics in order to mark the important events of their lives: birth, marriage, and death.
But there is more than good in the quilt’s magic power. Day by day Rachel sees and feels the power growing, as she senses the quilt influencing her thoughts and actions. Much as Rachel’s logical mind longs to deny the supernatural, the aura of evil coming from the quilt is terrifyingly real, and it seems to carry a sinister legacy into the lives of the people Rachel loves.
About Barbara Michaels
Barbara Michael’s real name:
Barbara Louise Mertz (September 29, 1927 – August 8, 2013) was an American author who wrote under her own name as well as under the pseudonyms Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels. In 1952, she received a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. She was best known for her mystery and suspense novels, including the Amelia Peabody book series.
In the 1960s, Mertz authored two books on ancient Egypt: Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs, a popular history of ancient Egypt; and Red Land, Black Land, which explores daily life in ancient Egypt. Both have remained in print ever since, and revised editions were released in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
Under the name Barbara Michaels, she wrote primarily gothic novels and supernatural thrillers. Her publisher chose that pseudonym since Mertz had already published one non-fiction book on ancient Egypt, and the publisher did not want Mertz’s novels to be confused with her academic works.
The first best-selling Michaels novel, Ammie, Come Home, was eventually made into a movie featuring Barbara Stanwyck; a later Michaels book, The Crying Child, was adapted into a film featuring Mariel Hemingway. Although most of Michaels’ books are stand-alone, Mertz did develop two short series under this pen name: (1) the Georgetown Trilogy (Ammie, Come Home; Shattered Silk; and Stitches in Time) and (2) the paired set of Someone in the House and Black Rainbow.
The first Michaels novels, The Master of Blacktower and Sons of the Wolf, paid homage to a romantic and gothic tradition of writing reaching back to Jane Eyre and forward to later writers such as Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney (with whom Mertz carried on a lively correspondence for many years). The final novel written by Barbara Michaels was Other Worlds, published in 1999.
Barbara Mertz was also the recipient of a number of grandmaster and lifetime achievement awards, including being named Grandmaster at the Inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998; in 2003, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. In 2012 she was honored with the first Amelia Peabody Award at the Malice Domestic Convention; the award was named after the leading character in her long-running series.
Have you read this series? What were your thoughts? Did the books stick with you to become classics you could reread?