Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Devil's Monk: A Constable Thomas Potts mystery by Sara Fraser

There's a murdered woman found in a hay field that has been beaten to bits.  They can't even identify her since her face is so damaged.  Thomas is going to have a tough time trying to prove who killed her...

Severn House and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 1st, so grab a copy then.

Having a mystery with no clues is bad enough, but Thomas has family problems, too.  His wife has just lost a baby and she won't let Thomas touch her.  She's moody, crabby, and unwilling to take comfort.  He keeps hoping it will be better.  She moves out and goes back to being a barmaid.  He's heartbroken, but he doesn't have time to worry about it.  Everyone tells him to let her be, that she'll come around.  The only way he can do that is to keep busy and this case does that.

The only witness is an old man who swears he saw the Devil's Monk run from the woman's body.  The Devil's Monk is a superstition but the people in the village still believe in him so Thomas can't blow it off.  Maybe someone else was wearing that white coat that made him believe it was the monk. Soon the old man is dead, too.  And a local prostitute goes missing, assumed dead.

Thomas is overwhelmed by the number of events in his small village, but he's out there trying to find clues.  He gets information from witnesses but he can't prove it with more than that.  When he picks up his suspect, life gets even tougher.  The more he digs, the less guilty the man looks, despite the testimony given against him.  Might the witness be lying?

This a complex tale twisted around by lies.  Thomas is worrying about his wife, the man he has jailed, and the case.  When he finally sees what happened and who is guilty, it's very surprising.  I had a clue earlier in the book but didn't connect it.  Ms. Fraser hides her clues well.

It reads a bit slower because it's set in 1829, but it kept me reading to see who murdered who and how it all would be resolved.  It turns out well.  I'll be watching for more books about Thomas.  I like him as a character.  Maybe you will, too.

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