Death in Salem

Written by Eleanor Kuhns
Review by Jane Kessler

This is the fourth in a series featuring 18th century traveling weaver Will Rees. During his travels, Will stops in Salem, Massachusetts to buy his pregnant wife some luxury fabric that he cannot weave himself. Stopping for the funeral procession of the invalid wife of a wealthy merchant, he meets up with a friend from the Revolutionary War, who is an undertaker.  The next day on his way home to Maine, his friend, Twig, catches up with him to say that the woman’s husband has been murdered. Twig’s girlfriend, who is the family’s slave, has been arrested. Knowing that Will has solved other murders, he begs him to come back and investigate.

I was disappointed in this book.  I had to force myself to finish it, which is surprising for a mystery. I found Will to be a rather clumsy detective and couldn’t imagine how he had managed to solve other mysteries. Without spoiling the plot, so many dramatic happenings within one family strained believability. I originally was interested in it for the weaving, but was disappointed there also, since there was not much information on historical weaving practices.  This is the only volume in the series I have read, and I won’t bother with the others.