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HaBO: Bits and Pieces of A Mystery Plot With Romance

This request is from Kim, who remembers more of the mystery elements than the romance elements of this book: 

The book I'm trying to find was a romance/mystery from the mid to late 1980s about a woman who finds a picture and/or a letter after her parents' death that leads her to a small town to investigate her past. Plot points include a big white house, a stolen ring (possibly emerald), a recurring image of a limp hand wearing said ring (which turns out to be a memory from the heroine's childhood of having seen someone pushed down the stairs and lying at the bottom), and the discovery that the heroine has a mentally challenged twin sister who regularly escapes from wherever she lives and returns to the attic of the big, white house.

I don't remember much about the male love interest, except that he has keys to the house, so he may have been a realtor or a handyman. (I was way more interested in the mystery than the romance, I guess!) I think the book cover was white, and I'm pretty sure it showed illustrations of the house and the ring on the hand.

If you can HaBO, I'd appreciate it.

There is nothing more amazing than a mystery twin, particularly one the heroine doesn't remember. I've read that device several times and it never fails to amaze me. Does anyone recall this book?

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  1. 1
    PhyllisLaatsch says:

    I think there’s a Jayne Ann Krentz book like that, though I don’t think there was a sister. Hmmm… off to google.

  2. 2
    PhyllisLaatsch says:

    http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebo… is the one I was thinking of, but I don’t think it’s right!

  3. 3
    Sandra says:

    Sounds to me like Barbara Michaels (Elizabeth Peters), but I can’t place which one it could be.

  4. 4
    Throwmearope says:

    Not a Barbara Michaels in the 80’s even under her Elizabeth Peters pen name.  Back then, I read them all.  No idea what the book is, however. The forgotten locked up twin thing was really popular in the gothics of that era.

  5. 5
    Delia says:

    Maybe one of Kay Hooper’s earlier novels? Finding Laura, Haunting Rachel, and Amanda all have a gothic feel to them.  They were written later than the mid 1980s though.

  6. 6
    Elli says:

    VC Andrews?

  7. 7
    Kay Webb Harrison says:

    Definitely NOT Kay Hooper’s post-Loveswept novels. I read each one more than once.
    Kay

  8. 8
    PamG says:

    Emerald / Phyllis Whitney?
    http://www.phyllisawhitney.com…

  9. 9

    This is a lot newer, but it sounds a bit like The 13th Tale – Gothic style, reclusive author recounting her story to a biographer, story includes the crazy secret twin, the handyman, big white house, I think it burns to the ground. Even if it’s not what you’re looking for it’s a GREAT read.

  10. 10
    Jeanna says:

    I don’t know the exact name of this, but it sure sounds like one of the books that came out in the “Silhouette Shadows” line. Most of the books in that line were put out in the early 1990s, but I think a few came out in the late 1980s under one of the standard Silhouette lines, but were denoted as “Silhouette Shadows” or something like that. There’s a list of the “Silhouette Shadows” books, most with synopsis, here: http://www.romancewiki.com/Sil…

  11. 11
    Crystal F. says:

    It does sound like a crossover of Flowers in the Attic, My Sweet Audrina, and Ruby. But it’s definitely not any 80’s V.C. Andrews book that I’ve ever heard of. (I have nearly the entire collection.)

  12. 12
    Sally says:

    Secrets of Tyrone by Regan Forest?

    http://www.fictiondb.com/autho…

  13. 13
    Cynara says:

    It does sound a bit Peter/Michaels-ish (except for the twin thing, which I don’t think she’d use in a modern setting).  However, I think I’ve read all of hers, and the attic-twin and stairs/falling/ring thing don’t ring a bell. 

  14. 14

    It may not be any help, but the mystery part of the plot reminds me very much of Agatha Christie’s Sleeping Murder.

  15. 15
    JenTobin says:

    It sounds sort of like a later Barbara Michaels where the heroine inherits a jewelry store after her parents die in car crash.  Maybe SEARCH THE SHADOWS?

  16. 16
    cleo says:

    Thanks PamG – I thought of Emerald too, but I couldn’t remember the name.  I don’t think it’s the HaBo – the heroine doesn’t have a twin (but I vividly remember the a crazy plot twist involving someone else’s look alike.) 

  17. 17
    Kimberlina says:

    YES!!!!!!!!!! This is IT!!!!!!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am now going to track down my very own copy!  So glad for your help!  *Kim

  18. 18
    Kimberlina says:

    Sally solved the mystery! The book is “Secrets of Tyrone” by Regan Forest, a title in the Harlequin Intrigue series. Hooray! Thanks for all of the input…especially the hearty recommendation for “The Thirteenth Tale,” which I second!

  19. 19
    Cynara says:

    Mmm, I love Search the Shadows, but it’s definitely not that one.

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