Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading. This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of The Truth Of All Things by Kieran Shields. As usual, I'm reading ahead for my mystery group selections. In October, we'll be discussing mysteries set in the Victorian Age or at least the 1800's. This is a book I've had on my shelf for a long time. It's set in Portland, Maine in the year 1892. See what you think:
At the sound of footsteps in the alley, Maggie Keene dimmed the gas lamp and sidled up to the room's only window. She eased the curtains aside, her fingers barely touching the paper-thin material for fear it might tear and crumble. The gap between two neighboring tenement houses allowed a slice of moonlight to pierce the narrow passageway below. A man in a brown derby hurried past, stepping over the remains of a smashed crate. The splintered boards lay scattered on the ground like animals bones bleached a ghastly white by long exposure.
Maggie cupped a hand against the glass and peered in the other direction. There was still no sign of John. Her eyes drifted past the lights of the Grand Trunk Railway Station, down toward the waterfront of Portland, Maine. The harbor was a dark canvas, interrupted only by a scattering of ships' lamps bobbing on the tide. She smiled at a faint memory: fireflies hovering over a field on a summer night. She clung to the image for a few seconds until the distant lights began to blur. The laudanum mixture made her feel remote and empty. It threatened to lull her to sleep until a familiar pain twisted in her gut. A vague, unformed prayer sped through her mind, begging God to let her be all right.
Two hundred years after the Salem witch trials, in the summer of 1892, a grisly new witch hunt is beginning....
When newly appointed Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is called in to investigate a prostitute's murder in Portland, Maine, he's surprised to find the body laid out like a pentagram and pinned to the earth with a pitchfork. He's even more surprised to learn that this death by "sticking" is a traditional method of killing a witch.
Baffled by the ritualized murder scene, Lean secretly enlists the help of historian Helen Prescott and brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey. Distrusted by officials because of his mixed Abenaki Indian ancestry, Grey is even more notorious for combining modern investigative techniques with an almost eerie perceptiveness. Although skeptical of each other's methods, together the detectives pursue the killer's trail through postmortems and opium dens, into the spiritualist societies and lunatic asylums of gothic New England.
Before the killer closes in on his final victim, Lean and Grey must decipher the secret pattern to these murders--a pattern hidden within the dark history of the Salem witch trials.
Do you think you'd keep reading? This seems like just the sort of book that would fit with a theme of gothic Victorian mysteries - even if it's set in America and not foggy London.
I love that cover, and your opening paragraphs definitely have me hooked, Kay. I just love the writing style. I admit the ritualistic killing gives me pause (I'm kind of burnt out on books about stuff like that), but otherwise, it does sound right up my alley.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean about the ritualistic killing. We'll see. This one is a 'maybe'. I just thought I'd throw it in the mix here as it was a little different.Delete
I like the opening paragraph and the book's premise. I have read much set in the 1800s. I'd like to try reading more.ReplyDelete
Oh, I love the Victorian Age, Margot. It's probably my favorite for mysteries.Delete
I too like the opener -- I'd definitely keep reading.ReplyDelete
I'm going to try it, Candace.Delete
Ooh I love reading about witches and witch trials! It's such a fascinating yet horrifying part of our history and it sounds like this book works with it really well! Although the beginning doesn't immediately pull me in I like it enough to keep reading! Thanks for sharing :) I hope you have a great week!ReplyDelete
My Tuesday post
Juli @ Universe in Words
Yes, I love witches too. And the Victorian Age. I'll see how this one goes.Delete
I love the opening paragraph, it's so atmospheric and I love historical mysteries so this sounds like something I should check out!ReplyDelete
My thought exactly, Clare. Atmosphere deluxe!Delete
I love the cover, too, and this book looks fascinating. I'd keep reading!ReplyDelete
And I shall, Monica. Or I'll try it anyway. It may not pass muster, but if not, I'll pass it along to someone else.Delete
I love the title and the beginning paragraphs. I'm going to look for this one.ReplyDelete
Catherine, I think there are 2 or 3 books by this author. At least that's my memory. Can't even remember when I got this one. Probably at a library sale. LOLDelete
I love witch stories, but couldn't handle this kind. Just a wimp. ,-)ReplyDelete
Beautiful new Banner pic!!!
Thanks about the banner picture, Tessa! Taken off my back porch early, early one morning. Such a beautiful sky.Delete
Sounds interesting and I like the idea of a historical novel that looks even further back in history. Look forward to your review...ReplyDelete
I'm going to see how it goes. I was interested enough to try it and it does fit with my Victorian Age reading quest.Delete
I would keep reading! I love how the author shows us the setting through Maggie's eyes, and even what she remembers and smells. Every detail is vivid.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.
Yes, the language is nice, isn't it? We'll see if I continue. I was intrigued anyway.Delete
Sounds intriguing, especially the connection to the Salem witch trials, but not sure this one's for me. Enjoy!ReplyDelete
Yes, that's what caught my eye too. We'll see how it goes.Delete
Oh, yes. Witches and laudanum and spiritualist societies? I'm in.ReplyDelete
I know. I'm always interested in those spiritualist things from the latter 1800's. So many people were involved in those.Delete
I would definitely check this one out. I haven't read a really good mystery in a long time. I am about due!ReplyDelete
We'll see how this one goes. It would work for Victorian Age mystery reading.Delete
Laudanum always makes me nervous, when it's held in a person's hands.ReplyDelete
Yes and laudanum use was so prevalent at that time. Kind of like some of the current addictive pain relievers.Delete
Oooh - I like the historical ties to this premise, but the intro didn't really grab me. I'd keep reading b/c of the premise, though! Also- saw you're reading The Royal We...I've heard good things about that one!ReplyDelete
I like the time period this book is set in. We'll see how it goes. Yes, I'm very, very slowly reading The Royal We. I'm liking it a lot so far, but I'm going through a 'can't settle to reading' patch.Delete
I'd probably keep reading, at least a little more.ReplyDelete
That's my plan, Vicki. We'll see how it goes.Delete
I love mysteries! Mine this week is also a mystery: https://madamevauquer.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/rhys-bowen-royal-pain/ReplyDelete
Mysteries are my book of choice. Most weeks anyway. :-)Delete
I'd definitely keep reading! I love the tone of that opening and I like historiacl mysteries. Throw in a serial killer and it's all the better. Hope you enjoy it!ReplyDelete
Thanks Katherine! I'm hopeful that this will go well.Delete
Love the cover and the intro - I'd read on!!ReplyDelete
The cover is pretty, isn't it?Delete
Sounds good and intriguing! Yes, I'll keep on reading. :)ReplyDelete
My thoughts exactly, Melody.Delete
I've actually read this one already so I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it!!! Hope you enjoy :)ReplyDelete
Ah, very good. We'll see how it goes.Delete