Author: Eleanor Kuhns

Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: 978-1-250-09335-6

Eleanor Kuhns, author of The Devil’s Cold Dish, has a Master’s degree in Library Science from Columbia University and is the assistant director for the Golden Public Library in Orange County, New York. (2017, inside back cover) She won an award in 2011 for the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition. She resides in New York state.

The setting for this book is late 1700’s near Salem in a small town named Dugard. There are several main characters; Rees, Caroline, Lydia, David, Sam, and Charlie with quite a few others playing supporting roles in this mystery. Rees is married to Lydia. Caroline is Rees sister. Sam is married to Caroline. David is Rees son and Charlie is the son of Caroline and Sam. Lydia is pregnant. Rees is even more protective of her given these circumstances.

Rees has stumbled upon what is obviously a murder of one of the local townsmen. He hopes to help catch the person responsible for this murder when shortly thereafter another person is murdered. This second man was well liked in town and a good friend of Rees unlike the first one who had a reputation for brawling. Can Rees figure it out?

Lydia came from a Quaker background and many in this small town believe that equates to witchcraft. The second murder has so many clues pointing to Lydia that Rees simply cannot rest until he finds who is responsible. Who hates he or Lydia so much that they would frame these murders on them? Rees is milling this question over and over in his mind.

Rees learns that his sister, Caroline, has been spreading ugly rumors and lies about his wife being a witch to everyone who will listen to her in Dugard. The town is now divided on this topic with half believing Lydia is a witch and is subsequently responsible for these murders and the other half shaking their heads in disbelief. Could Caroline be behind these murders? Rees sincerely hopes not, but he cannot write her off as a suspect so easily.

Many bad things occur at Rees and Lydia’s farm that appear to be connected to these murders and Rees worries for his family’s safety. He and Lydia have five children with another on the way. Is someone trying to send them a message by ruining their bee business by setting the hives on fire that Lydia has painstakingly cared for and used for sweetener and candles? Rees thinks so. Right when Rees thought things could not get worse a group of local men have come out to Rees and Lydia’s house stating that they want to round her up and take her into jail for these two murders. Rees is beside himself. They want to search their home. Rees is upset about this and is thankful that Lydia and most of the children are down in the dairy taking care of the milking. The ruffians manage to not find her and leave, but they tell Rees they will be back for her.

Rees takes Lydia and the children to stay with Lydia’s Quaker friends in the next state. Here he figures they will be safe from harm while he tries to find out who is doing this to them and why.

I’m not going to spoil the plot for you so if you like what you hear, buy it, read it. I enjoyed it and believe you will too!