Mardi Gras Death Mask

I am very happy and proud to announce  my newest Murder Mystery : 

"The Mardi Gras Death Mask"

Click here to order a print copy or
 here to download the digital version.

I thought I'd give you a little peek/teaser from it. The story is about a lady who wears a mask to a Mardi gras Ball - a mask that has a 150 year old curse on it. This is the story of that curse....

The Legend of the “Mardi Gras Death Mask”

Immediately after the Civil War, the DeLong Family was perhaps the most powerful family in New Orleans.

At that time, 80% of the sugar consumed in America came from Sugar grown in the south. The rest came from either the Caribbean or Hawaii. Hawaiian Sugar Cane was just beginning to become a serious competitor, although high tariffs and shipping costs were keeping the quantities imported relatively small.

When the Civil War broke out, the North found its supply of sugar virtually cut off and the price of sugar jumped from $3 a barrel to over $50 a barrel. The price would continue to raise to as much as $150.00.

Elroy DeLong, the head of a family with a small Sugar Plantation outside New Orleans, made a fortune smuggling sugar up the Mississippi River to the northern states during the war. In the process, he began buying more and more of the other Sugar plantations and managed to gain virtual control of the Sugar industry. The family became enormously rich.

To enhance their standing in New Orleans Society after the war, the DeLongs decided to host an annual Mardi Gras Masquerade Party. They named it the ‘Bayou Ball’ and it has been an annual tradition for over a century and a half.

As a gift for his wife to wear at one of the first Bayou Balls, Elroy DeLong commissioned an extraordinary Mardi Gras Mask to be created. He wanted a mask so striking that it would highlight the family’s wealth and power. He had it handmade in France by the most talented artisans of the time and enhanced its value by having it encrusted with precious jewels. The mask was said to be the most beautiful Mardi Gras mask ever made –and it was certainly the most valuable, worth over one hundred thousand dollars when it was created.

Elroy DeLong’s wife often consulted the famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau. Marie became Mrs. DeLongs ‘Spiritual Advisor’ and close friend. Then in 1869, the two had a public falling out. Marie Laveau, who normally did not care about politics, made an offhanded comment that the DeLong’s had been traitors to the Confederate States because they made a fortune smuggling sugar to the North. That comment was widely repeated and was printed in the newspapers. The incident seriously hurt Mrs. DeLong’s status in New Orleans high society. In retaliation, Mrs. DeLong denounced Marie Laveau as a charlatan, fake and swindler. Upon hearing that, Marie Laveau became extremely angry and knowing the value and importance of the mask, she publicly cast a spell putting a curse on it. The curse said that anyone who wore the mask would die and all who came in close contact with it would suffer illness. New Orleans society immediately nicknamed it the “Mardi Gras Death Mask”.

In spite of the curse, Mrs. DeLong wore the mask to the Ball. She died mysteriously a week later. Although it was not worn again during the next 3 years, many of the DeLong family and servants reported becoming sick just from being in the room where the mask was displayed. Elroy DeLong finally had the mask put into storage and family members refused to discuss it.

In 1927, the mask was taken out by the head of the family at the time, Mrs. Emily DeLong. She worn it at that years Ball. In the months following the Ball Emily DeLong became paranoid and began losing touch with reality. She was committed to an asylum where she remained until her death in 1933.

The mask was worn one more time the following year, this time by her daughter, Alice. When Alice perished in a carriage accident a month later, the mask was taken off display again and hidden away until this year.
     Agnes DeLong, the current matriarch of the DeLong dynasty and a ruthless businesswoman, publicly repudiated the superstition and vowed to wear the mask at this year’s Bayou Ball. She also had a brochette made in the image of the mask. She had it cast in pure 24 karat gold and set with large diamonds and a large emerald.

Will Mrs. DeLong wear the mask? 
If she does, will she fall victim to the curse? 
Or will someone take advantage of the curse to try and kill her? 
What about the brochette?

You'll have to wait and find out in the final, exciting Chapter when Gator reveals all....

Live Long and Prosper...

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