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The Harlot's Tale (A Midwife Mystery #2)

by Sam Thomas

[From inside front dust jacket flap: "It is August 1645, one year since York fell into Puritan hands. As the city suffers through a brutal summer heat, Bridget Hodgson and Martha Hawkins are drawn into a murder investigation more frightening than their last. In order to appease God's wrath-- and end the heat wave--the city's overlords have launched a brutal campaign to whip the city's sinners into godliness. But for someone in York, whipping is not enough. First a prostitute and her client are found stabbed to death, then a pair of adulterers are beaten and strangled. York's sinners have been targeted for execution. Bridget and Martha--assisted once again by Will, Bridget's good-hearted nephew--race to find the killer even as he adds more bodies to his tally. The list of suspects is long and includes: Hezekiah Ward, a fire-and-brimstone preacher new to York; Ward's son, Praise-God, whose intensity mirrors his father's; and John Stubb, one of Ward's fanatic followers, whose taste for blood may not have been sated by his time in Parliament's armies. Or could the killer be closer to home? Will's brother Joseph is no stranger to death, and he shares the Wards' dreams of driving sin from the city. To find the killer, Bridget, Martha, and Will must uncover the city's most secret sins, and hope against hope that the killer does not turn his attention in their direction. The first novel in the Midwife Mysteries series by historian/writer Sam Thomas, The Midwife's Tale, can be found in the Bookshare collection. Thomas illuminates daily life England nearly 4 centuries in the past. He examines the balance between laws intended to maintain order and compassion which dictates that they don't always support justice.

The Midwife's Tale

by Sam Thomas

[From inside front dust jacket flap:] "It is 1644, and Parliament's armies have risen against the king and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels' hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget's friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burned alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer. Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant who's far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha's past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city's most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther's murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand." In the tradition of Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death and C. J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series comes Samuel Thomas's remarkable debut, ..."

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