cover image The Witch Hunter’s Tale: A Midwife Mystery

The Witch Hunter’s Tale: A Midwife Mystery

Sam Thomas. Minotaur, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-04575-1

Set in 1645, Thomas’s outstanding third mystery featuring midwife Bridget Hodgson (after 2014’s The Harlot’s Tale) offers a powerful portrayal of collective madness. York has been plagued by harsh weather, providing an opening for fanatics to allege that the extreme summer heat and winter cold are divine punishments for the city’s toleration of witches among the populace. The first victim, an impoverished elderly woman, Hester Jackson, is hanged for causing the death of a mother and child. Bridget is unsettled to learn that the evidence against Hester comes from Rebecca Hooke, Bridget’s arch-enemy, who was once a midwife. The malicious Rebecca teams with Bridget’s ambitious Puritan nephew, Joseph, who hopes to gain power by stirring up anti-witch hysteria. To add to Bridget’s problems, Joseph’s brother, Will, is accused of murder and faces execution. Her efforts to clear Will test the limits of what Bridget is willing to do to protect her own. How she handles tough moral choices helps make this entry the best to date. Agent: Josh Getzler, Hannigan Salky Getzler. (Jan.)