Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The New Quaker Midwife Mystery from Edith Maxwell, TURNING THE TIDE

It's 1888 and the presidential election furor is heating up in Amesbury, Massachusetts. No surprise, then, that the skillful and strong-minded midwife Rose Carroll is prepared to join a protest on behalf of women getting the vote -- not in any offensive way, of course, but standing up with her friends, relatives, and especially other members of the Society of Friends, aka the Quakers.

Of course, any time Rose stands up publicly, her patients/clients worry whether she'll be on hand for their birth-related needs. And taking a stand for a "right" that wealthy men in the region may consider illegitimate can mar her carefully built reputation. Still, you know Rose ... or you do if you've been reading the excellent amateur sleuth series that Edith Maxwell provides as the Quaker Midwife Mysteries. The 2018 title is TURNING THE TIDE and it applies to a lot of the action, but especially to the force of public opinion. And that of Rose's mother-in-law to be,  who is not happy about the planned match for her son (Quakers are a step down socially!).

In the sturdy tradition of amateur sleuth mysteries, this time Rose sees an accusation of murder leveled against someone she suspects is innocent. Simple commitment to justice requires that she address herself to solving the crime, so the real criminal can pay the consequences instead.

I enjoyed the vibrant historical feel, as well as the many adept twists of plot here. Most of all, I appreciated the connection with Whittier, insight into the suffrage movement, and following Rose into the bedrooms of her ladies-in-labor. There's just enough suspense to keep the pages turning rapidly, yet nothing that would make me check the locks on the doors at night. A perfect balance!

Later this month (May 22), I'll share a book event with this very active author of three to four mystery series (at Water Street Books in Exeter, NH). The second book cover shown here relates to my own "Quaker connection" and part of what I'm eager to converse about with Edith Maxwell. If you're in the New England area, I hope you'll join us.

PS:  Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here

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