The Cry of the Hangman

Susanna Calkins. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5033-1
Set in 1667 London, Calkins’s twisty sixth Lucy Campion whodunit (after 2020’s The Sign of the Gallows) finds former servant Lucy thriving as a bookseller’s employee. She now produces books and writes true crime accounts, albeit without being credited as their author. Her oral recitation of one of her grim stories is interrupted by a rival orator, who recounts the gory tale of a fraudulent tooth-puller, Geoffrey Knight, whose botched procedure led to a death several years earlier. The Donnetts—a soap maker and his wife—provided the damning testimony that sent Knight to the gallows. Soon after Lucy hears about the case, the Donnetts are murdered—the wife stabbed with scissors, the husband scalded by lye dumped on his head. Lucy investigates the killings and their possible link to an assault on her former master, magistrate Thomas Hargrave, by someone who stole Hargrave’s private papers. Calkins makes her lead’s sleuthing plausible while playing scrupulously fair with readers, few of whom will identify the murderer before Lucy does. This series keeps getting better. Agent: David Hale Smith, InkWell Management. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/26/2021
Release date: 11/01/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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