Good day, book people. Do you enjoy reading series? I have quite a few series that I read and, surprise, these series aren’t restricted to any one genre. Seriously, some of my favorites are in the historical fiction genre, others are romance or romantic suspense, a few are classified as inspirational, and quite a few are mystery or suspense. One of the many things I find pleasurable about reading a series with more than two or three books is the ongoing development of the characters and their relationships, not to mention the world-building. I’m incredibly honored to welcome back an author that has excelled at the character development and world-building, as well as providing intriguing encounters found in the Will Rees Mysteries, Eleanor Kuhns. Ms. Kuhns is here today celebrating the release of the eleventh book in this series, Murder, Sweet Murder and will be discussing building relationships in her writings. Thank you, Ms. Kuhns, for joining us once again at The Book Diva’s Reads, I’ll now turn the blog over to you.
Although I usually describe the Will Rees Mysteries as historicals, they are also family stories. In every book, I show the relationships between Rees, his wife Lydia, his children, and the wider world.
In Murder, Sweet Murder, I send Rees and Lydia and two children to Boston. Why Boston? Lydia hails from Boston and readers had asked me several times for more about her and her family. But what could I use as a reason for a journey to Boston, especially in January? Lydia has been estranged from her family for years. As a young woman, she’d fled to the District of Maine and joined the Shakers. (See A Simple Murder.) I already had the character of her father in my mind. And, after writing Death in the Great Dismal and Murder on Principle, both concerning different aspects of slavery, I decided to cast Marcus Farrell as a dealer in enslaved peoples as well as the most likely suspect.
So, Lydia receives a letter from her sister Cordelia begging her to come to Boston. Marcus Ferrell has been accused of murder. Lydia is reluctant but her sister’s pleas, the desire to show off the new baby, and the importance of finding a school for Jerusha, persuade her to make the journey. And, of course, Marcus Farrell is still her father, despite the estrangement.
For the first time, Will meets his wife’s family. Since he has grown up on a poor farm in the District of Maine and makes his living as a weaver, he is thrown by the wealth of the Farrell family, and the upper-class customs. Sharon, the baby, is consigned to the nursery, something neither Will nor Lydia are happy about. Jerusha, a quiet studious girl who wishes to become a teacher, is put in the same room as Lydia’s sister. And Cordelia is a social butterfly whose main preoccupation, besides parties and clothes, is making a good marriage.
Rees is eager to leave almost as soon as he arrives.
Then a second murder occurs, that of Lydia’s uncle Julian who runs the family rum distillery. Before his death, however, he gives Rees and Lydia a lead to her brother James. A sea captain, he too is estranged from his father. Farrell accuses his son of weakness because he refuses to captain any of the ships for his father and be in any way associated with the importation of enslaved peoples; ‘that filthy trade’, in his words. Conditions on the ships were horrific (and research in contemporary accounts would make your hair curl.)
Another murder occurs, one seemingly unrelated to the others, in a family-owned tavern. But Rees is sure there is a connection.
At the same time, Rees and Lydia are dealing with Cordelia’s reckless sneaking out at night to meet the young man she is interested in, as well as visiting a possible school for Jerusha.
Like I said, families. Always complicated. ♦
Murder, Sweet Murder
by Eleanor Kuhns
April 11 – May 6, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
Will Rees accompanies his wife to Boston to help clear her estranged father’s name in this gripping mystery set in the early nineteenth century.
January, 1801. When Lydia’s estranged father is accused of murder, Will Rees escorts her to Boston to uncover the truth. Marcus Farrell is believed to have murdered one of his workers, a boy from Jamaica where he owns a plantation. Marcus swears he’s innocent. However, a scandal has been aroused by his refusal to answer questions and accusations he bribed officials.
As Will and Lydia investigate, Marcus’s brother, Julian, is shot and killed. This time, all fingers point towards James Farrell, Lydia’s brother. Is someone targeting the family? Were the family quarreling over the family businesses and someone lashed out? What’s Marcus hiding and why won’t he accept help?
With the Farrell family falling apart and their reputation in tatters, Will and Lydia must solve the murders soon. But will they succeed before the murderer strikes again?
Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: February 1st 2022
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN-10: 0727850091 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 9780727850096 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781448307326 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781666580891 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B09V6GR7TF ASIN: B09GK7Z8C5 Series: Will Rees Mysteries #11
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible audiobook | Barnes and Noble | B&N Nook Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo audiobook | Kobo eBook | Goodreads
Eleanor Kuhns is the 2011 winner of the Mystery Writers of America/Minotaur first mystery novel. Murder, Sweet Murder is the eleventh mystery following the adventures of Rees and his wife. She transitioned to full time writing last year after a successful career spent in library service. Eleanor lives in upstate New York with her husband and dog.
Catch Up With Eleanor Kuhns:
Twitter – @EleanorKuhns
Facebook – @writerkuhns
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