A Colonial farmer does everything he can, even detective work, to avoid hard labor.
Years after Will Rees (Simply Dead, 2018, etc.) fought the British in the American Revolution, he finds himself battling the boredom of life in rural Maine. Instead of listening to the pleas of his wife, Lydia, and sowing the fields to provide food for his family, he spends his time weaving so that he’ll have an excuse to travel the countryside selling his cloth. When Asher’s Circus comes to the nearby town of Durham, Rees finds an even better reason for daily trips away from the farm. Asher, bareback rider Pip Boudreaux, and beautiful tightrope walker Bambola welcome Rees into their colorful world, enchanting him with their exotic costumes and skills. Shem and Leah, two youngsters from a nearby Shaker community, are enchanted too and run off in hopes of seeing a performance. When Leah’s found dead in a nearby field, Rees has an even better excuse to flee the drudgery of the farm: Constable Rouge asks him to help investigate Leah’s murder. But Rees spends more time having his fortune read at Bambola’s tarot table than sleuthing. Eventually the case is cracked more or less by chance through the efforts of an unlikely deputy.
All work avoidance and no detection makes Kuhns’ latest entry a dull read.