cover image Death in the Great Dismal

Death in the Great Dismal

Eleanor Kuhns. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-9023-8

Set in 1800, Kuhns’s middling ninth novel featuring weaver-turned-sleuth Will Rees (after 2019’s A Circle of Dead Girls) takes Rees from Maine, where he and his wife, Lydia, have recently joined a Shaker community, to Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp, at the behest of his Black friend Tobias , a former slave. Rees agrees to accompany Tobias south and help him get the woman he loves, Ruth , north to safety. Lydia comes along, so that the party can pose as a couple traveling first with one slave then with two slaves on the return trip. But when Rees and company arrive at a refuge in the swamp set up by escaped slaves, Ruth’s reluctant to join them. Before she can decide what to do, a man in the refuge is fatally shot in the back. A planned slave revolt raises the ante as Rees uses his deductive gifts to seek the truth. Both the puzzle and the characterizations fall short of Kuhns’s usual standard. Fans can hope this intriguing series will rebound in the next volume. [em]Agent: Mitchell S. Waters, Brandt & Hochman. (Jan.) [/em]