Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Ninth Daughter-Barbara Hamilton

The Ninth Daughter
Barbara Hamilton
Berkley, Oct 2009, Sep 29 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425230770

In 1773, the Sons of Liberty demand representation in England’s Parliament and a say in running the colonies that they consider a country. They are preventing a ship containing tea imported by the West Indian Company from unloading. Abigail Adams is at the periphery of the standoff as her spouse John is one of the leaders of the tea boycott. She visits her friend Rebecca Malvern, who tells her that her husband abuses her.

Abigail finds a corpse of a woman on the kitchen floor. Before she goes for help, she notices Sons of Liberty items everywhere. John and his brother Sam arrive to clean up the mess; the victim is Perdita Pentyre married to a wealthy merchant and mistress to the colonial governor. Rebecca is missing and Abigail believes she has been abducted. She intends to find her friend as does Sam who believes Rebecca possesses a ledger containing the names of the Sons of Liberty in other colonies and the cipher which is used to communicate with them As her husband is accused of murder, her inquiry takes her into the worst sections of Boston where homicide is a daily activity.

Barbara Hamilton writes a super Revolutionary War era Massachusetts Bay Colony amateur sleuth starring real historical figures who fans the flames of revolt two years before the “shot hear round the world” (Emerson’s usage and not that of Bobby Thompson). The mystery is well crafted even though the audience knows John is obviously not the killer since this is not an alternate historical. The story line provides a deep look at Boston as rebellion is in the air. Fans will want to join the tea party hosted by Ms. Hamilton with guests being a who’s who of Colonial Massachusetts.

Harriet Klausner

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