Searcher of the Dead

Written by Nancy Herriman
Review by J. Lynn Else

It’s 1593, and since fleeing Elizabethan London after her husband’s murder, Bess Ellyott has been living in her brother’s house in Wiltshire. One evening, their sister arrives at the door fearing that her husband, who left that morning for business in another town, is in grave danger. The next day, his body is found hanging from a tree. While the coroner and jury pronounce the death a suicide, Bess spots a suspicious mark on her brother-in-law’s body. As Bess begins investigating, she’s quickly reminded of her own husband’s tragic demise. Has a murderer followed her from London? Or is the shadow that edges around the periphery of her investigation a different threat to her family and friends?

Early on, Herriman’s level of historical detail pulled me in and never let go. Gramercy, how the dialogue sets the tone with finesse! I loved how immersed in time and place I felt. From patterns of speech, to details in homes of the poor versus the wealthy, to 16th-century law, the research Herriman has done is marvelous. The pacing is great, and I found myself glued to the pages. To my delight, on top of an intriguing mystery, the historical depth and the well-developed characters make this an extremely satisfying read. Certes, fans of Ariana Franklin will devour this book! I eagerly await more Bess Ellyott mysteries. Highly recommended!