Friday, April 5, 2013

The Truth Of All Things-Kieran Shields

The Truth Of All Things

Kieran Shields

Broadway/Crown, Feb 5 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9780307720290

In 1892 Portland, Maine, someone mutilates and murders prostitute Maggie Keene in what looks like a ritual killing as the corpse contains clues about witches in the Abenaki language. Deputy Marshal Archie Lean enlists the help of Dr. Virgil Steig who turns to his former student hybrid Abenaki-Caucasian Pinkerton criminalist Perceval Grey to assist law enforcement in solving the homicide.

With further insight from library assistant researcher Helen Prescott, Lean and Grey soon connect the brutal killing to the past: the seventeenth century Salem witch-hunt and two decades ago fire and deaths. More murders as brutal as that of Keene follow with Grey applying the new forensic science concepts to the crime scene.

This is a fabulous historical police procedural that enables armchair readers to believe they are in late nineteenth century Portland due to the vivid early descriptions of single (Grey and Prescott) and family (Lean) life in that era; though at times the abundance of detail slows down the pacing. The Salem Trials come across as frighteningly macabre yet intriguing; adding depth to a strong investigative collaborative whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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