Sup with the Devil

Written by Barbara Hamilton
Review by Anne Clinard Barnhill

Barbara Hamilton’s third book in the Abigail Adams Mystery series is set on the cusp of the American Revolution, and her husband, John, is up to his neck in rebellious activity with the Sons of Liberty. But it isn’t John who has Abigail worried in this book; it is her nephew, Horace, a student at Harvard and a bit of a hypochondriac, who finds himself involved with a shady lady who goes by the name of Mrs. Lake. When Horace’s dear friend, George Fairfield, ends up murdered in his room, though Fairfield is a Tory, Abigail sets out to find his killer.

This chase leads Abigail and Horace to a house of ill repute, an abandoned stone castle in the middle of nowhere, a clutch of ancient books that someone wants very badly, and Mr. Fairfield’s slave, Diomede, who is jailed for the murder.

Hamilton recreates the turmoil of the times and the dangers that lurk around every colonial corner when one group of people is in rebellion against the ruling class. Abigail Adams is full of courage and cleverness as she inspects the world around her. The relationship between her and her husband, captured for us in their charming letters, is echoed in this novel and a pleasure to read. As Abigail Adams is one of my favorite heroines, I’m delighted to find her a sleuth on her own in this series.