The Mystery at Sag Bridge

Photo courtesy Richard Hoyt Lee

Photo courtesy Richard Hoyt Lee

A century-old murder mystery…A dangerous ghost…An amateur historian…

What binds them together?

Introducing the Cora Tozzi Historical Mystery Series

Cora Tozzi is a retired businesswoman who, after nursing her mother through her final illness, wishes only for a peaceful orderly world in her suburban Chicago home. When an angry spirit begins to leave cryptic messages on her computer and threatens those around her, Cora is forced to dig into the town’s notorious past to uncover secrets that will free the bonds that tie her and the spirit. With the help of her husband and their friend, Frannie, Cora uses her skills as an amateur historian in a search that takes them into unexpected terrain including subterranean passages, an eerie graveyard, and shadowy paths in isolated forests where a sinister predator is awakened. As they battle unpredictable supernatural powers, the story takes a poignant turn: the spirit’s life is revealed, and both women, a century apart, examine threads into the past and the future, their loss and longing linked across the generations.

Editorial Reviews for The Mystery at Sag Bridge

Kirkus Reviews: Cold Case meets Ghost Whisperer in Camalliere’s debut mystery.

A capricious spirit, a mysterious wolf, and a 100-year-old unsolved triple homicide lead Cora Tozzi on a journey to uncover the history of Sag Bridge. Lemont, the tiny village, nowadays melded into the Chicago suburb where Cora and her husband, Cisco, live, was a hub of activity in the late 1800s during the building of canals that would link the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. Retired, Cora devotes her time to the library, the historical society, a book club, and other assorted committees. She also hides a secret. 

Throughout her life, one that she herself describes as quite fortunate, Cora has had the sense that some sort of supernatural entity has been watching over her. A door closing unexpectedly, a paper clip flying across the room, all signaled the presence of “something.” Cora began calling this presence “Angel.” But lately, the previously playful Angel has been gaining strength and exhibiting some dangerously angry behavior. Is Angel responsible for the bizarre accident that left a hostile member of Cora’s book club fighting for her life? Is she demanding something specific from Cora? And why did Angel attach herself to Cora in the first place? In her search for answers, Cora learns of the century-old murder of a young couple and their newborn baby girl.… Camalliere peppers her narrative with well-drawn depictions of life in turn-of-the-last-century Sag Bridge, and her characters are rather charming.…there are a few surprises left for the very end.

A lively twist on the historical fiction genre by a promising author.

Daryl Morrison reviewed The Mystery at Sag Bridge

5 Stars – Local History comes alive! July 20, 2015      Although this book is based on a story centering on a supernatural character, its use of the real local history of Lemont, Illinois juxtaposes the fictional with the historical. Two stories interweave, the early twentieth century “ghost’s story” and the late twentieth century woman sleuth’s story. The setting of Lemont, Illinois provides the history of a unique Chicago area village that saw its heydey in the building of a canal and its easier access to Chicago. The character development of the main character is well thought out and the character handles such issues as loss of her mother, friendships, relationship with her husband and balancing retirement and community service–all issues many boomers face today. This book is strongly recommended both to readers and potential writers as a study on how to place a fictional book in a real historical setting.  Daryl Morrison, Head, Department of Special Collections, UCDavis University Library

Reader’s Favorite Aislynn reviewed The Mystery at Sag Bridge

5 Stars – Not your typical ghost story August 10, 2015     The Mystery at Sag Bridge by Pat Camalliere is a wonderful gem of a read. While a ‘ghost story’, this book is more mystery and suspense, as the title would suggest…In-depth history research went into this writing, and it clearly shows. Cora and Mavourneen’s characters were full of depth and personality. I felt myself drawn into their stories, sharing emotions with their ups and downs. I am an anthropologist/archaeologist by training, and I loved the attention to historic detail. My favourite part, hands down, is the middle section, Mavourneen’s section, dealing with the end of the 1890s…The story puts me in mind of book The Turning of the Screw, and the movie The Others, only happier. If you liked either of those, or things similar, give Camalliere’s The Mystery at Sag Bridge a try. I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy it!

Red City Review – 9/28/15

…Told with storyteller’s craft The Mystery at Sag Bridge is fiction at its best. Rich landscapes and a world steeped in mysticism brings the world lushly to life. Written from Cora’s point of view, the story moves from past to present giving the reader a sensation of being pulled back and forth in time. Camalliere has created a compelling narrative with complex characters. Revealing how two women relate to their families, friends, and the community around them. Cora’s depth of character growth throughout the book is a testament to Camalliere’s skill and writing prowess. Whatever you are looking for in a good read, you will a little bit of everything in The Mystery at Sag Bridge.

Just Reviews – 9/28/15

An ending that will bring tears to your eyes…Author Pat Camalliere gives readers much food for thought in a heartfelt, heart-breaking novel of two women who needed to find peace and understanding when dealing with family love, relationships and secrets. A story that everyone will want to read and many will identify with.

Amazon Reader Reviews

—Ursula Bielski, Chicago’s leading paranormal expert, Owner of Chicago Hauntings, Inc, author of many titles including Haunted Bachelors Grove. 6/20/16
“Pat Camalliere has emerged as the perfect voice for the deeply historic, mysterious region which has enchanted so many of us for generations.   Sag Bridge, Archer Road and their ethereal beauty and culture are both her canvas and her medium in her debut novel. Any Chicago history buff, ghost hunter or mystery lover will be smitten.  I can’t wait to read the dozens of novels to come.”  

5 Stars December 24, 2016 – I enjoyed the story and wished it was longer.

5 Stars – Excellently written! October 29, 2016 – This story is a murder mystery and a ghost story all in one. I loved the diverse characters and the details of their backgrounds. The authors handling of each character caused me to deeply care about each of them and to be able to feel what they were feeling. There is one chapter in the middle of the book that I had a hard time understanding why it was there. However, It ends up being important to the rest of this wonderful story. I think that anyone who is a fan of mysteries would enjoy this book. tory is a murder mystery and a ghost story all in one. I loved the diverse characters and the details of their backgrounds. The authors handling of each character caused me to deeply care about each of them and to be able to feel what they were feeling. There is one chapter in the middle of the book that I had a hard time understanding why it was there. However, It ends up being important to the rest of this wonderful…Read More

5 Stars – Great Read Start to Finish! September 23, 2016 – I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The main character, an amateur historian, takes you on a non stop adventure as she tries to solve a century old murder mystery. The bond that developers between the historian and the spirit of the murdered woman is so touching. I live close to Lemont and enjoyed learning so much about the history of the town. I can’t wait to read Pat’s next book, The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods!

5 Stars – A believeable ghost story September 23, 2016I immediately was involved with the opening scenes of a book club meeting. The author has created interesting characters and an intriguing plot. I enjoyed the relationship of Cora and her husband Cisco and the friendship with Frannie. Living near Lemont, the site of the story, made it more interesting. I actually made a visit to the church at St. James and toured the cemetery. Made the story come alive.

5 StarsGreat Read July 12, 2016 Loved the book. Held my interest, exciting read, and enjoyed the history and location. Unusual to have a paranormal mystery, different and enjoyable.

5 Stars – Great job on recreating local history May 4, 2016I gave this book 5 stars for the great research that went into it and the mystery that was developed. I am a lifetime Lemont/Sag Bridge resident and thoroughly enjoyed following the trail that truly has existed and the characters that have lived in this area. I’m looking forward to reading her other novels.

5 Stars – An intriguing, fun genre-bending novel 5/10/15 – The first word that comes to mind to describe this novel is “fun.” I enjoyed it immensely. I don’t usually read ghost stories, so I was surprised how much I liked this one. The premise in intriguing: it combines the modern story of a retired woman, grieving the lost of her mother, with a century-old murder story. The two stories intersect because Cora, the modern protagonist, encounters strange happenings wrought by a vengeful ghost. The book is structured like a sandwich, a beginning modern section, a central historical section, and an ending modern section. Cora makes a discovery near the end of the first section that leads naturally into the historical part of the story. One of the things I liked best about the novel was Cora herself. I immediately warmed to her. I thought her relationships were believable. Her marriage to Cisco and her friendship with Frannie felt real and lived-in. The writing also has an easy flow to it. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this story to anyone who likes mysteries, paranormal stories, or historical fiction.

Five Stars – Entertaining and interesting HISTORY !!!!!!        6/22/15 – My wife and I are avid readers and over the years have enjoyed many books in the genre (Historical Fiction). Being familiar with the area and its history, we particularly enjoyed the author’s obvious efforts to blend in HISTORY and her attention to the historical elements of her story. Over the years we have enjoyed the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Richard Llewellyn , I believe this FIRST EFFORT by the author compares favorably to these works. Plus the author chose the additional chore of penning a “Supernatural, Mystery”. Her handling of this lent an element of acceptability to a subject that is often “over the deep end”. Here is hoping we have many more of these Historical Fiction books to look forward to.

Five Stars – I love this book! 9/15/15 – I grew up in the town described in this book. Although this book is fiction, it did contain many correct depictions of the town. For me, this in itself held my interest. The author has a great imagination and had me at page one. I received this book on a Monday afternoon and had finished it by Tuesday evening. I could not put it down. I hope the author is going to write another mystery.

Five Stars –  A real page turner! 9/11/15 – This story revolves around the mysterious link between a young woman of the past and a woman from the present. It takes place in my hometown and the author does a magnificent job of weaving an intriguing story with our town’s rich history. I can’t wait until the next book comes out!

Five Stars – A great read! 8/11/15 – I have always loved reading mysteries and this one was not a disappointment. From the very first page I was hooked. The story throughout the book switches from present day to a time in the past. Sometimes that makes for tedious reading, but not in this book. The story flows well between the two time periods and holds your interest. Having grown up in the area, it was fun recognizing the places that are mentioned and I learned some things that I never knew.All in all a great read! Can’t wait till the next one!

 5 StarsA Message in a Haunting 4/9/15: “A supernatural mystery lays a quilt over a very intriguing study of grief, longing, and the profound connections among women – between friends, between mothers and daughters, and across generations in the shared burdens of love, hope and care. It’s a lovely book with fine writing, solid characterizations, and real dialogue, but its power comes from the subtlety with which the theme of female solidarity is woven through the tale. This is another indie book that deserves attention from thoughtful readers.”

Other Reviews

Susan Roy, President, Lemont Area Historical Society: Pat Camalliere has crafted a compelling mystery that introduces readers to the unique history and features of Lemont, while immersing the characters in a tender exploration of how our mothers influence our lives. Whether you enjoy mystery, history, engaging characters, or a touch of the supernatural, readers will love this book.”

Ann Stout, Co-President, Friends of the Library: “I finished your book today and I am overwhelmed. It touched me in many ways. I, too, lost my Mom a few years ago and took care of her in her final months. I miss her daily and frequently pick up the phone to call her. I am south side Irish, born in Beverly and learned to read in the lap of my Irish granddad. I felt an immediate kinship with Cora .

The story was incredibly touching, the characters were compelling and so likeable and the storyline was gripping from start to finish. I miss all of them now that their story has ended.

Thank you for a delightful read!

The Mystery at Sag Bridge is now available on Amazon

Kindle, Nook, and Kobo and iBook available.

You may also purchase the book locally at Smokey Row Antiques

112 Stephen Street, Lemont, IL

Larger orders can be purchased through the publisher

Amika Press,

847 920 8084, 53 W Jackson Blvd 660 ,  Chicago IL 60604