The Indigo Ghosts (A Gabriel Tavener Mystery)

Written by Alys Clare
Review by K. M. Sandrick

Rural Devon physician Gabriel Taverner is summoned by his former ship’s captain Zeke Colt to board the recently docked Falco, search the holds, and help calm a crew disquieted by what they believe to be ghosts with darkly stained blue hands and arms. Taverner, along with village vicar Jonathan Carew, his sister Celia Palfrey, and coroner Theophilus Davey, uncover the aftereffects on ordinary men from the actions of nation-states in the 17th century: slavery, rivalries between and Spain and England over New World treasures, and the quest for a navigable Northwest Passage.

Readers were first introduced to ship’s-surgeon-turned-country-practitioner Taverner in the 2017 mystery A Rustle of Silk. Third in the Taverner series, The Indigo Ghosts is a well-plotted mystery that intertwines threads of Christianity and Caribbean native beliefs, touches on the exploits of Sir Francis Drake and Sir Richard Hawkins, and captures the desperation of subjugated men.

Most satisfying for aficionados of old-school ghost stories is the righting of wrongs that continue to haunt spirits in the afterlife or injustices that transform men into specters of their former lives. The Indigo Ghosts is a welcome addition to that tradition.