cover image Falling Creatures

Falling Creatures

Katherine Stansfield. Allison & Busby, $19.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-74-902141-2

British author Stansfield (The Visitor) blurs the lines between reality and illusion with her evocative first Cornish mystery, set on brooding Bodmin Moor in 1844. The book’s narrator, known only as Shilly, is hired as a servant at Penhale farm on the same day as Charlotte Dymond, a young woman with uncanny abilities to make “the world do as it didn’t ought to.” Charlotte is sly and manipulative, but Shilly loves the beautiful woman, who seems to have strange witching powers. Charlotte’s fey ability to drive men mad with desire has horrifying consequences when she’s found on the moor with her throat cut. She was last seen with a man with a limp, a description that fits Matthew Weeks, Penhale’s gentle hired man. When Matthew is charged with Charlotte’s murder, grief-stricken Shilly knows in her heart that he’s innocent. She finds an unlikely ally in Mr. Williams, a newspaperman with a shocking secret and a compelling reason of his own to help Shilly find Charlotte’s true killer. Stansfield based her poignant, haunting tale on an actual 1844 Cornish murder. Readers will look forward to the sequel. (Jan.)