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It’s the Jazz Age, it’s Prohibition and aviator Charles Lindbergh is the most famous person in America. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald rents a mansion in Edgemoor, Delaware called Ellerslie hoping for a quiet retreat so that he can write his next novel following The Great Gatsby.
April Ross, the first and only female history major at the University of Delaware, is commissioned by the owner of Ellerslie to research the estate’s history for a potential sale. At least, that’s what April is told. In the days ahead, April’s historical research uncovers Ellerslie’s former owners dating back to 1810. She interacts with the Fitzgeralds, yet endures unexplained occurrences and visits by an unknown woman. Against her better judgement, April eventually accepts that the woman is a ghost and realizes that her true purpose is to find out who this woman is, or was, and what happened to her in real life.
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“I signed a two-year lease,” Scott said. “And I came here to get away from the noise of New York so that I could write. I also came here because I have a fascination with medieval Europe and feudalism. I wanted to study the DuPonts and their quasi-feudalism over this area and create a novel loosely based on them. Unfortunately, every time I sit down to write it nothing happens. I think my problem is that I always want to write something that’s never been written before, something unique and extraordinary rather than another rehashing of a familiar plot.”
“If the DuPont idea isn’t working, then stop trying to force it and write something else.”
“You sound like my editor, Max Perkins. He’s pretty upset with me right now. I promised him a novel by July first. That’s not going to happen.”
“Well, as they say, get crackin’. And don’t worry about your lease. I’m sure Mr. Sellers will let you break it when you tell him that Ellerslie is haunted.”
“Haunted?” Scott said with an uneasy laugh. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
“It’s not ridiculous. Mr. Sellers knows it. The maids know it. Phillipe knows it. My real purpose here is to discover the identity of a crying female ghost."
Scott moaned. “Well, then. I guess Elena spilled the beans.”
“She did not. Marie did, but I would’ve figured it out. This female manifestation has been reaching out to me, giving me clues meant to help my investigation. Of course, if she could speak it would go a lot faster, but in life she was strangled and possibly crushed her throat. I guess this makes her spirit unable to speak. I don’t know. I’m no expert on ghosts. Have you seen her?”
“Yes, I was drunk and in the kitchen the first time, about two weeks after we moved in. I knew who she was by Mr. Sellers’ description. I didn’t believe it. I still don’t believe it.”
“Do you know anything about her?”
“Not much. Apparently, she’s been on the estate for many years. Mr. Sellers said his father knew about her and called her the ‘melancholy lady.’ Servants recalled hearing the old gentleman talk to somebody late at night, usually in the library, and when they entered the room he was the only one there. Then shortly before his death he told his son about her, said she cried all the time and he couldn’t figure out why. Mr. Sellers Junior dismissed it as the rantings of an old man. Then one tenant after another kept telling stories about a ghost or unexplained acts of violence. Junior didn’t believe them until he saw the lady for himself.”
“So Mr. Sellers told you about the lady ghost before you moved in but you signed the lease anyway?” “Yes. Zelda and I thought it might be exciting to live in a haunted house.”
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