James Musgrave
Mystery & Suspense

The Spiritualist Murders

CLARA AND HER FAMILY MUST STOP A MESMERIZING MURDERER



Women in 1886 San Francisco are killing their husbands. Attorney detective Clara Foltz uses an eighteen-year-old clairvoyant to track down the mysterious man using the powers of sexual magnetism and mesmerism to turn abused women into murderers. This becomes a family mystery, as Clara’s two oldest children get involved.



Clara’s assistant, Ah Toy, must also enlist the help of her evil uncle, Little Pete, because he also uses his paranormal abilities to control his harem of prostitutes in Chinatown. Ah Toy learns how he does it and leads Clara and her family inside the dark, seamy side of how women are controlled for nefarious purposes.



But the true confrontation comes when Clara joins together with her attorney friend, Laura de Force Gordon, to question witnesses who testified at the trial of Mrs. Rachel Wilson-Rafferty. They also pay a visit to the wife of the man who began the first Rosicrucian group in America, Dr. Paschal Beverly Randolph. They learn he taught sexual magnetism and the use of hashish and marijuana to help transfix his members in spiritual trances before they had sex with their partners.



As the wealthy and abusive husbands are murdered by their wives all over the United States, Clara and her team begin to close in on a variety of suspects. The supernatural climax leads to a final confrontation and the solution to the mystery, inside the Winchester house in San Jose, but not without several twists in the action, which place Clara’s daughter and son in immediate danger.



This second, much-awaited mystery in the Portia of the Pacific series shows how women used Spiritualism in order to further their rights as women and wives. In this case, however, women once again become victims of a sexist predator who will risk everything to achieve his misogynistic goals.


Mystery & Suspense

Chinawoman's Chance

The First Woman Attorney in California Fights the Patriarchy of the Nineteenth Century

Clara Shortridge Foltz faces a patriarchal nemesis in 1884 San Francisco. When a white prostitute is murdered and flayed down to a skeleton, Clara is hired by the Six Companies of Chinatown to defend the sixteen males who are swept-up by the Chinatown Squad.  

 

This ragtag and corrupt group of sheriffs works for the mayor, Washington Bartlett. The mayor uses the nation's anti-Chinese sentiment in his quest to win the race for Governor of California. 

 

Foltz, the first woman admitted to the California Bar, must learn fast to become a detective in order to prove that her client, journalist George Kwong, is not the killer but was set-up by the mayor to take the fall. Along with Ah Toy, her trusted translator and best friend, she is instructed by the head of detectives, Captain Isaiah Lees.  

 

Lees becomes enamored with Clara, who is having personal problems with sexual commitment, due to her first marriage with Jeremiah Foltz. He was a Union vet who deserted Clara and their five children for a younger woman. 

 

Captain Lees has personal problems of his own, as he has devoted all his time fighting the corrupt politicians and the Chinatown Squad for twenty years, and has not even made time for female relations. Theirs is a very special kind of romance.


Mystery & Suspense

Forevermore

First Place Winner of the 2013 Chanticleer Book Award for Best Historical Mystery. Finalist in the Best Digital Fiction Award, New Generation Book Awards, 2014.



In post Civil War New York City, Detective Pat O'Malley is living inside Poe's Cottage in the Bronx. O'Malley is haunted by Poe one night, and the detective finds a strange note. As a result, O'Malley decides to prove that Edgar Allan Poe did not die in Baltimore from an alcoholic binge but was, instead, murdered. O'Malley quickly becomes embroiled in a "cold case" that thrusts him into the lair of one of the most sinister and ruthless killers in 1865 New York City. Selected by the Library Journal for special choice in their "Self-E" indie book awards and distribution program.



Jim Musgrave's "Forevermore" is a quick read in four acts that will keep your mind razor sharp trying to solve the mystery of Poe's murder. Pat O'Malley must first find out how to become intimate with females before he can discover the final clue in this puzzle of wits, murder and romance.

Visit the author's BookLife page for more titles.


Mystery & Suspense

The Stockton Insane Asylum Murder

“Madness can be seen as an intuitive probing into true reality.”–R. D. Laing

Women were, among others, misdiagnosed as insane by alienists in the 1800s. My plot will involve a female child who has been institutionalized in 1887, but the aunt of this child comes to Clara Foltz to say she believes the child was admitted to the Stockton State Insane Asylum (the first such institution in California) because she knew about a murder that was committed on her wealthy parent’s estate.

Clara solicits the help of Elizabeth Packard, the crusading (real) activist who was committed in the 1860s by her husband.  It took Mrs. Packard three years to earn her freedom. Together with Ah Toy, they contrive a way to go undercover to gain admittance into the Women’s Building at Stockton to find the child and determine what happened to have her institutionalized. Children were regularly institutionalized, as were the elderly and the feeble-minded.



  • Five of these characters will be readers who won a raffle held by the author.  They will be suspect asylum patients inside the Stockton State Insane Asylum, the first public mental hospital in California.  The author will be working with each reader, using their photos, descriptions and “personal idiosyncrasies” to craft the characters used in his mystery.




  • BookLife Prize, 2018:  "A thrilling adventure, perfect for whodunit fans and historical fiction buffs."




  • Kirkus Review:  "An entertaining mix of fact, fiction, feminism, and the occult."




  • Visit the author's BookLife page to see other titles available by him.




The Stockton Insane Asylum Murder Trailer