This is the sixth in Woodworth’s Shaker mystery series that takes place during the Great Depression of the ’30s. The action returns to Kentucky’s North Homage Village after a foray to Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts in the last book. Sister Rose Callahan, eldress of the Shaker community, is faced with murder after the village opens a hostel to non-Shakers in an attempt to raise funds. Along with the first hostel guests arrives the seeming ghost of a 19th century young Shaker woman.
I find it hard to believe that North Homage would be beset by murder after murder as depicted in the books in this series. But the rich description of Shaker life, their relations with the outside community, and the hardships of the Depression enable me to set aside my concerns and simply enjoy the stories. While Dancing Dead stands up well on its own and indeed was more engaging than the previous book in the series, reading the earlier books in order will provide background on the relationships already well established in this volume.