Cover image for Lantern for the dark
Lantern for the dark
Stirling, Jessica.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1992.
Physical Description:
377 pages ; 22 cm
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Author Notes

Hugh C. Rae was born on November 22, 1935 in Glasgow, Scotland. After graduating from secondary school, he worked as an assistant in the antiquarian department of John Smith's bookshop. His first novel, Skinner, was published in 1963. He wrote several novels using his name including Night Pillow, A Few Small Bones, The Interview, The Shooting Gallery, The Marksman, and Harkfast: The Making of a King. He also wrote as Robert Crawford, R. B. Houston, James Albany, and Stuart Stern.

Using the pseudonym Jessica Stirling, he wrote more than 30 historical romances. He wrote the first few novels with Peggie Coghlan. However, when she retired 7 years after the first book was published, he wrote the remainder on his own. The books written under this pseudonym include The Spoiled Earth, The Constant Star, Hearts of Gold, and Whatever Happened to Molly Bloom. He died on September 24, 2014 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Stirling is a masterful storyteller whose ability to forge arresting characters and impart the nuances of a historical period improves with each new novel. Set in eighteenth-century Scotland, this tale opens with Clare Kelso, an accused murderer, meeting her new legal representative, Cameron Adams. Adams is convinced of Kelso's innocence on the charge of infanticide, but her reluctance to disclose her secrets leaves him powerless to save her from hanging. His persuasive powers must first be tested in the jail cell before he can even begin to work on the judiciary. The novel ends with a twist that may leave readers wondering whether they are to hear more about Clare Kelso in future volumes. ~--Denise Perry Donavin

Publisher's Weekly Review

This absorbing historical romance combines a fine mystery and a revealing social portrait of 18th-century Scotland. Unmarried Clare Kelso awaits trial in Glasgow in 1787 for the death by poison of her 10-month-old son. The baby's father, Frederick Striker, has vanished. Orphaned and poor, Clare had been taken in by wealthy relatives to care for their three young children, and it was through her ambiguous position as servant and family member that she met the charming, roguish Striker, whose reputation as a womanizer only enhanced his appeal. But Striker has a darker side, a fact that his submissive sister and the judge at the trial know well, each for their own reasons. Rising defense attorney Cameron Adams listens to Clare's story about the circumstances of the baby's death with mounting perplexity, and after some keen detective work he is sure that Clare is lying to protect someone. The author of The Asking Price deploys fully realized characters against the background of a greedy and corrupt society operating under a thin veneeer of respectability. This richly detailed morality tale features a taut trial scene and a cache of surprising secrets that will keep readers totally involved. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In late 18th-century Glasgow, Clare Kelso stands trial for the murder of her baby son. Did she do it? The first chapter, a marvelous mood setter, does a fine job of laying out the plot and stimulating readers' curiosity about how Clare got to this point. Unfortunately, discovering whether she is guilty or innocent requires plowing through the puzzling labyrinth of her history, presented as a long flashback. A plethora of stereotypical and buffoonish villains obvious to everyone but Clare, women who think of nothing but how to get the villain in the sack, milquetoast and stupid would-be heroes, and a heroine who is so artless she borders on vacuous make up the unexciting cast of characters. Purchase only where Stirling ( The Welcome Light , St. Martin's, 1991) has a following.-- Bettie Spivey Cormier, Charlotte-Mecklenburg P.L., Charlotte, N.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.