Called to Justice

Written by Edith Maxwell
Review by Kate Braithwaite

Called to Justice is Edith Maxwell’s second Quaker Midwife Mystery, but it can very easily be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. Rose Carroll is a brave and committed young midwife. She has a strong sense of justice and a thirst for truth, which leads her to look for answers when a 17-year-old mill worker is shot dead only a short time after confiding to Rose that she is pregnant out of wedlock. As the police’s eyes fall quickly on Akwasi Ayensu—a freed slave and fellow Quaker who Rose implicitly trusts—Rose finds herself looking for other suspects who might have a motive for committing the murder.

Called to Justice mixes Rose’s investigating with her budding romance with local doctor David Dodge as well as her busy midwifery practice. She is an appealing character, grounded in her Quaker faith, caring and professional but also vulnerable and charmingly suspicious of everyone in the small Massachusetts town of Amesbury.

Although there is a cozy mystery feel to Called to Justice, Maxwell is not afraid to depict the harsher realities of life in the 1880s. Sexual assault, sexually transmitted diseases, racial discrimination, and religious prejudice all feature, as do the realities of life where the telephone was a luxury and many young women worked in mills and factories to support their families.

Overall, this is an engaging murder mystery with likable characters, a page-turning plot and a vivid historical setting.