The Harlot’s Tale: A Bridget Hodgson Mystery

Samuel Thomas, Author
Sam Thomas. Minotaur, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-01078-0
Reviewed on: 11/18/2013
Release date: 01/07/2014
During the hot summer of 1645, Hezekiah Ward, a fanatical preacher, stirs up the public by proclaiming the high temperatures a divine punishment for local sinfulness, in Thomas’s superior second whodunit set in 17th-century York (after 2013’s The Midwife’s Tale). The violent rhetoric is disturbing enough to midwife Bridget Hodgson, who is even more upset when Ward’s words apparently lead to bloodshed. A man and a woman are savagely slaughtered in a brothel, with their killer seemingly inspired by a biblical passage about fornicators being killed to stop a plague. Their deaths are but the first of many, and Bridget believes that someone has taken the preacher’s words to heart and is seeking to save the city by killing prostitutes. Besides making his heroine a plausible sleuth, Thomas conveys the challenges of midwifery without clumsy exposition. Agent: Josh Getzler, Hannigan Salky Getzler. (Jan.)
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