Posted By Claire on October 19, 2012
This wonderful murder mystery is not at all Tudor, it’s actually set in 1795 in the New England Shaker community, so was a bit of a diversion from my usual reading. However, I’m so glad that Minotaur Books sent it to me because it’s one of the best mysteries I’ve read and is deserving of its Mystery Writers of America’s First Crime Novel Award.
The main character, Will Rees, is a travelling weaver who thought he was doing the best thing in leaving his son, David, in the care of his sister after the death of David’s mother. Unfortunately, David’s life there was far from happy and he decided to leave and join the Shaker community. Will wants to put things right and so travels to see his son but just after his arrival one of the young Shaker women, Sister Chastity, is murdered. Will, being the outsider, is of course suspected of the crime but it soon becomes obvious that Will is not the culprit.
The elder of the community turns to Will for help after David informs him that Will has investigated crimes before. Assisted by Lydia, an ex community member, Will investigates the murder and uncover troubling secrets which soon endanger their lives. Can Will solve the murder before the community is forced to close? Can he build bridges with his son and will he fall in love with Lydia?
A Simple Murder is an atmospheric, gripping who-dunnit set in a wonderfully rich historical and culturally interesting setting. It is clear that Kuhns has done her research and she has woven history and mystery together brilliantly. The book is described as the first in a series and I can’t wait for the next one.