cover image The Devil’s Breath: A Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mystery

The Devil’s Breath: A Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mystery

Tessa Harris. Kensington, $15 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-7582-6700-9

A real-life natural disaster propels Harris’s excellent third Thomas Silkstone mystery (after 2013’s The Dead Shall Not Rest). The odd behavior of wildlife, including a massive flock of geese flying overhead, tips off anatomist Silkstone, an American expatriate, that something is amiss in 1783 England. The county of Lincolnshire is overwhelmed by a huge noxious cloud, spread out “across the entire skyline... like an enormous wave.” The choking fog is accompanied by acid rain, and is viewed by the superstitious as the devil’s breath and a sign of divine punishment. As the “Great Fogg” afflicts more of the country, the medico has a number of murders to solve, including the brutal bludgeoning of two young children. Meanwhile, Silkstone’s love interest, Lady Lydia Farrell, is desperate to find her lost son. Both literally and figuratively atmospheric, this will appeal to fans of Imogen Robertson’s series set during the same period. Agent: Melissa Jeglinski, Knight Agency. (Jan.)