on 12 November 2010
In the political turmoil of Boston in 1773, one woman is found murdered and another has vanished without trace. A wise, wry female protagonist, Abigail Adams, must follow the threads - personal, political and religious - that will lead to the identity of the murderer.
Lots of interesting background detail about political and everyday household life in the period, and a well-plotted mystery. It is perhaps a little slow to start, but builds up to a gripping finish.
Fall is turning into winter in 1773 Boston. Tension is in the air thanks to the new tax on tea and the patriots who are now refusing to pay it or drink it.
In the midst of this tension, Abigail Adams goes to see her friend Rebecca Malvern and discovers a dead woman on the floor of Mrs. Malvern's house. The woman is a stranger. Who could she be? Why was she killed here? And where has Mrs. Malvern gone? When Abigail's husband John becomes the chief suspect, Abigail begins to hunt not only for her friend but the killer to clear her husband's name.
I love historical mysteries and the American Revolution, so as soon as I heard about this series, I knew I'd enjoy reading it. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to the promise. While the main characters were interesting and felt real, I had a hard time getting into the book. The writing, while trying to capture the feel of the time, was actually a bit of a deterrent to me.
And the plot wasn't as strong as I was expecting either. I didn't feel it was overly complicated. In fact, I found it annoyingly simple, and I kept reading hoping to be proved wrong. While I didn't see the motive coming, I felt like I should have.
Having said that, the ending was tense, and I was pulled into it. That's why I'm giving it 3 stars instead of 2.
And, despite the look, I agree with the others that this is not a cozy. There are some pretty intense descriptions of violence over the course of the book.
I don't think I will give this series another chance, which is very disappointing. And it leaves me wondering if I want to try the series she writes as Barbara Hambly, which has been on my to be read list for years.