cover image Original Death: 
A Mystery of Colonial America

Original Death: A Mystery of Colonial America

Eliot Pattison. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-58243-731-6

Edgar-winner Pattison combines action, period details, and a whodunit with ease in his impressive third mystery set in Colonial America (after 2010’s Eye of the Raven). The French and Indian War is in its sixth year in 1760, and the American wilderness is full of armed men “lusting to soak the land in blood for the sake of distant kings.” Against this backdrop and the continued encroachment of the white man on the traditions and lands of the American Indian, Scottish exile Duncan McCallum is trying to help his Nipmuc friend, Conawago—who’s given up hope of ever seeing another member of his tribe—reunite with a previously unknown relative. The quest gets off to an ominous start with McCallum’s discovery of a dead soldier tied to a wheel at the bottom of a lake. As the bodies pile up, Pattison pays tribute to the conventions of the murder mystery without sacrificing excitement or a nuanced look at the final stage of the war between the British and the French for control of North America. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary Agency. (Aug.)