Rough Music (A Cragg and Fidelis Mystery)

Written by Robin Blake
Review by Franca Pelaccia

It’s 1744, and on the recommendation of his associate Dr. Luke Fidelis, coroner Titus Cragg moves his wife and baby to a remote village in Lancashire in the hopes of avoiding an epidemic. But the village is far from peaceful and welcoming. Cragg is asked to investigate the death of a woman, who was the victim of an old village prank turned deadly. Soon, the prejudices, religious and social intolerances, old rivalries, and the murky past of the villagers come to light, and more inexplicable murders and disappearances occur.

Rough Music, a Cragg & Fidelis mystery, offers sharp insight into remote rural life of 18th-century England, where religious prejudices abound, a woman and man’s place are well defined and held accountable, and no one knows who is a friend and who is a foe. Punishments that humiliate and denigrate are carried out by the villagers and fly in the face of Cragg and Fidelis, who try to introduce law and punishment to a community that refuses it.

Rough Music kept my interest from the beginning. Even though the conclusion was not what I expected, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a mystery that adds layers as you read and keeps you guessing to the very end.