Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 1736: a foggy night, a child’s death and a case for a musician turned amateur sleuth.
Charles Patterson is having a hard time coming to terms with his new lifestyle. He loves his wealthy bride Esther (Sword and Song, 2010, etc.), but all their acquaintances assume that he married the lady for her money. Esther is having trouble persuading Charles, who had struggled to make a living, to spend money on clothes befitting his new status and to show an interest in handling her properties, which are now legally his. One night Charles sees a horseman run down a woman and child. After the child disappears into the water, he feels compelled to track down the mysterious rider, his only clue the initials CR on a saddlebag. While searching for clues to the casual murder, Charles meets Kate, a young girl of low origins. Desperate to improve herself by becoming a musician, she wants Charles to take her on as his apprentice. Charles finds her more useful in his avocation: She helps him discover who has stabbed Richard Nightingale, a ladder-dancer and singer whose arrival from London set the local ladies afire with his flirting. Charles is also trying to find proof that Cuthbert Ridley, a young man of doubtful character, is the murderer he seeks. Both Charles and Kate can step into the spirit world, an ability that comes in handy in solving the crimes.
Southey neatly folds the requisite historical information into a clever mystery full of interesting characters. The addition of all those spirits may or may not improve your enjoyment.