A Mischief in the Snow

Written by Margaret Miles
Review by Ann Chamberlin

This mystery is the fourth in a series featuring widowed sleuth Charlotte Willett and set in the village of Bracebridge, Massachusetts shortly before the Revolution. Adams, Revere and Walpole receive cameo mention. Rumors run of stamp tax and tea trade. Against this background we have a plot of stolen silver, a hidden child, a haunted “castle” (which seems rather gothicly out of place) and, of course, murder — in this case, an unpleasant young man axed to death in the snow during the ice cutting. To say more would be to reveal too much of what comes to be a fairly satisfying and cozy read.

Details of colonial life are often well-written: “She… brought back four joined tapers, cut apart their wicks, then inserted them into brass candlesticks.” To my taste, however, the language of the whole rang a little too contemporary. My biggest problem was keeping the multitude of characters straight. I felt many of these villagers were not drawn memorably enough to spark a desire for reacquaintance. For one new to the series, the cast of characters was more muddle than red herring and detracted from the pleasure of trying to figure out whodunit.