Death In The Great Dismal
by Eleanor Kuhns
March 22 - April 16, 2021 Tour
September 1800, Maine. Will Rees is beseeched by Tobias, an old friend abducted by slave catchers years before, to travel south to Virginia to help transport his pregnant wife, Ruth, back north. Though he's reluctant, Will's wife Lydia convinces him to go . . . on the condition she accompanies them.
Upon arriving in a small community of absconded slaves hiding within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will and Lydia are met with distrust. Tensions are high and a fight breaks out between Tobias and Scipio, a philanderer with a bounty on his head known for conning men out of money. The following day Scipio is found dead - shot in the back.
Stuck within the hostile Great Dismal and with slave catchers on the prowl, Will and Lydia find themselves caught up in their most dangerous case yet.
Kuhns’ vivid portrayal of the community that developed inside the swamp captures a group of naturally cunning and vigilant people who provided a family for one another when most had none. . . the story shines for its historical backbone and atmospheric details.
The strength of Kuhn's fiction is the setting of each novel and her attention to detail. I knew nothing about the Great Dismal Swamp. I appreciate learning much about escaped slaves living in the swamp, their society, customs and rituals. They became experts on the trails and islands in the swamp. Some had cabins while others lived underground. They learned to evade the slave catchers as well as the deadly cottonmouths. An Author's note gives additional historical information.
The setting is woven into a murder plot. Rees is a reluctant sleuth yet a methodical one. He has a thoughtful way of pursuing his ideas, noting clues and inconsistencies to ultimately reveal the murderer.
While this novel is part of a series, it reads rather well on its own. To fully understand the tension between Rees and his wife we see in this novel, read the previous one, A Circle of Dead Girls. You can see my review of that book here.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: January 5th 2021
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 0727890239 (ISBN13: 9780727890238)
Series: Will Rees Mysteries #8
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
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(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)