Georgian England is ruled by the law, but crime solving is rudimentary at best.
The Lancashire estate of Garlick Hall is the scene of a gruesome murder and Titus Cragg, lawyer and coroner, is called upon to investigate and arrange a coroner’s jury. When Dolores Brockletower, the wife of the squire, is found with her throat cut in the woods near her home, Titus calls upon his friend doctor Luke Fidelis to help investigate. The local populace is all too eager to call this a supernatural act. Dolores, who is from the Indies and rides astride, is not well liked and people suspect her of witchcraft. Her husband was away and has an excellent alibi but when the corpse is stolen from the ice house, preventing a jury from being convened, it is obvious someone is willing to go to great lengths to prevent an investigation. Titus not only checks out the husband’s alibi but digs deep into Dolores’ past. Squire Brockletower was secretly looking into a divorce as his wife could have no children; Dolores went as far as steering a young friend into an affair that leads to her pregnancy so they could adopt the baby. When the architect working on improving Garlick Hall is murdered and dumped in Titus’ garden the whole case becomes much more personal. What Titus uncovers is so shocking that he has no doubt it is a motive for murder.
Blake’s first, in what one hopes will be a series, presents a very tricky mystery to solve along with a nice period feel.