The Burying Ground, by Janet Kellough ****

theburyinggroundThis is the fourth book in Kellough’s Thaddeus Lewis series, but it was brand new to me, and I was able to follow the story quite well as a stand-alone. My thanks go to Net Galley and Dundurn Group for the DRC. This book comes out in early August, and I will run my review a second time on my blog then to remind readers that it’s available.

Kellough has merged two enjoyable genres, mystery or detective fiction and historical fiction, and added a splash of social justice–the sort that slides into the story neatly and without preaching. Lots of different story threads eventually braid together elegantly into an ending that satisfies deeply.

The settings are Montreal close to the time of the Industrial Revolution, and outside of Montreal in a village called Yorke. Our protagonists are Thaddeus Lewis, a Methodist Episcopal preacher who travels the circuit, and his son Luke, a physician who serves as the junior partner to a taciturn elderly doctor named Christie. At times Luke has his hands full; there’s a typhus outbreak, but it seems to be a mystery in itself why some entire households are spared while others are consumed and nearly none left standing. But no worries; that is not our only mystery, nor our chief one.

The primary mystery is that of the grave robbers. The sexton for the local cemetery, The Burying Ground, Morgan Spicer, has interrupted robbers who dig up the interred, but leave the body. Yet there are also some caskets that have two bodies in them. What’s up with that? An invigorating combination of red herrings mixed with interesting historical minutiae spice up the tale as it unfolds.

What’s up with the overly eager woman who resorts to a form of blackmail to lure eligible bachelors into her parlor? Why isn’t the local law protecting local Black folk from marauding American slave catchers looking to put them on the auction block back in the States?

Kellough tosses it up all up and keeps us on our toes. And now that I have enjoyed her work, I will look for opportunities to read the other three novels in her series.

Watch for this title, on sale this summer.

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