I loved this book. Before reading it, about all I knew about the Shakers was that they were originally a fringe group of Quakers who shook (rather than quaked) in the presence of the Lord, and who believed in chastity for all members -- and that they made beautiful furniture and were outstanding cooks. But this book takes you right into a Shaker community, and makes the people seem very real. It therefore provided a fascinating glimpse into their way of life. But that was all serendipitious -- it is an excellent mystery in its own right, and thoroughly enjoyable. I can't wait to read the rest of this series.