Review by Andrea Maloney

Someone is murdering the ministers of Massachusetts and Cotton Mather feels he is the next target so he takes to his bed and refuses to leave it. Cotton’s wife, Abigail, in fear for him contacts her cousin Hetty Henry and Cotton’s cousin Increase Mather to help and get him back on his feet and to find out the truth about the deaths.

Increase determines to look into the matter and Hetty insists on helping him out much to his chagrin. Hetty an independent young woman twice widowed with means of her own is determined to help out her cousin and find the truth about the deaths of the ministers with or without Increase‘s help. They squabble and bicker yet find themselves pulled together by the events occurring around them.

Increase and Hetty soon find that there are suspects aplenty including the Royal governor Edmund Andros and his henchman, old Gammar Pisspot who is a few cards short of a full deck, the mad Quaker Gabriel and the West Indies slave Zillah.

Along the way the two fight political oppression, mob violence and voodoo being perpetrated by unknown people while each step takes them closer to the truth about the murders in Massachusetts.

M. E. Kemp has written a fascinating mystery with a marvelous historical backdrop giving us insight into the lives of people living in the Massachusetts Bay Colony back in the day.

Engaging characters add depth to the story. Hetty is a delightful character who you will find yourself cheering for as she shows herself to be a bright, intelligent and capable woman who is more than able to deal with whatever life has to offer.

The plot is well written and numerous red herrings will keep you guessing until the unexpected ending. A thoroughly enjoyable read which will have you wanting to read more about Hetty, Increase and historical Massachusetts.


Andrea Maloney is a stay at home mom and jewelry designer who loves to read. Her favorite books are mysteries, suspense and thrillers. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters and one large cat.

Return to Fall 2006 Table of Contents

© 2006 SPINETINGLER Magazine - All rights reserved

Baby Love
If It Bleeds
Behind You!
No Help For The Dying
A Kind of Puritan
A Thankless Child
A Certain Malice