Future First Lady Abigail Adams returns as an investigator (The Ninth Daughter, 2009).
Over breakfast with John Adams, his wife Abigail spots a newspaper advertisement: Bathsheba, a young slave woman, has run away, leaving a son and daughter behind. Abigail knows in her bones that no mother would abandon her children for her own freedom; Bathsheba must be dead. But this disappearance is quickly overshadowed by the killing of Sir Jonathan Cottrell, the King’s Commissioner on colonial insurrection. Heiress Lucy Fluckner begs for Abigail’s help. The man arrested for the murder is her beloved Harry Knox, printer and revolutionary. Lucy’s prominent father wanted to wed Lucy to Cottrell. When Cottrell’s odious politics combined with his attempt to violate Lucy, Harry threatened to strike him dead. This threat makes Harry a convenient suspect for the Provost Marshall; facing the gallows, Harry might implicate John Adams, cousin Sam and all the Sons of Liberty. In their defense, Abigail begins to question the servants of Cottrell’s social circle. She learns that many wanted Cottrell dead. Mainers saw him as a threat to their land holdings; worse, Cottrell violated countless women, in England, the Continent, Barbados and, in Boston, Bathsheba. Though the world is better off without Cottrell, Abigail must find his killer before Harry irrevocably sails to trial.
The solution is complicated in detail yet obvious in outline. But Hamilton breathes vivid life into her historical characters through telling household details and finely honed dialogue. A satisfying read for mystery lovers and American history buffs alike.