Ghost Trio by Phyllis Irwin & Lillian Faderman

A grieving muscian finds more questions than answers when she visits the location of her beloved’s death.

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Coming in April 2022


A grieving pianist visits the site of her true love’s death hoping to find answers that will help her to move on, but what she finds leaves her with more questions than answers.

Lee Howe, a professional pianist, comes to Southern California from New York on a mournful mission: She believes that if she can see the site where her beloved Devorah met her death, she will begin to accept that she must move on with her own life.

Devorah Manikian had been rehearsing for a starring role in Carmen and was living in Eggerscliffe, a 1920s-style pseudo-castle belonging to the wealthy and eccentric impresario, Annajean Eggers. Devorah was gone only a few weeks before Lee was notified that she was dead—tragically killed in a tower fire at Eggerscliffe.

But as Lee stands alone on a deserted patch of beach just below the castle, she hears Devorah singing. Is it the cocktail of tranquilizers, sleeping pills, anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety drugs Lee has been taking since learning of Devorah’s death that makes her hallucinate her beloved’s voice—or is Devorah being kept a prisoner somewhere in Eggerscliffe?

Phyllis Irwin, a nonagenarian mystery writer and musician teamed up with her spouse Lillian Faderman (often called the “mother of lesbian history”) to write GHOST TRIO.

A different version of this novel—Ghost Trio by Phyllis Q. Irwin— was originally published by Bold Strokes Books in April 2013.

Bywater Books has restored Ghost Trio to its original version at the request of the authors.


PHYLLIS IRWIN, a professor of music emerita, is the author of two college music textbooks and the co-author of a music education textbook. (As a teenager, she wrote short adventure stories in which she flew an airplane to rescue beautiful damsels in distress—never published of course.) At 92, she is still performing publicly as a pianist.

LILLIAN FADERMAN is a writer of lesbian history books such as Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America, and To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America—A History. Her memoir, Naked in the Promised Land, was reissued by Bloomsbury in 2020.

Phyllis and Lillian have been together for fifty years, though they were married in 2008.

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