cover image A Rustle of Silk: A Gabriel Taverner Mystery

A Rustle of Silk: A Gabriel Taverner Mystery

Alys Clare. Severn, $29.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8656-9

Set in 1603, Clare’s gripping series launch introduces Gabriel Taverner, a former ship’s surgeon who’s having difficulties building a medical practice in his home county of Devon. The local coroner, Theophilus Davey, asks Gabriel to examine a decomposing body discovered at an abandoned hovel by the Tavy River. There’s no doubt about the cause of death. The corpse was run through the gut with a blade, and since the hands are gripping the weapon’s shaft, Gabriel believes that the death is a suicide. He’s later shaken to learn that the dead man was Jeromy Palfrey, an agent for wealthy silk merchant Nicolaus Quinlie and the husband of Gabriel’s beloved sister, Celia. When further investigation proves that Jeromy was murdered, Gabriel must prove Celia innocent of the deed. Clare (The Night Wanderer and six other Aelf Fen medieval mysteries) vividly evokes 17th-century Devon. Characters who are complex individuals complement the well-paced and pleasantly twisty plot. (Jan.)