A traveling weaver and crime solver finds danger in a Shaker village.
It's 1796. Will Rees has taken refuge in the community of Zion, Maine, after being forced to flee from his farm in Dugard, where he’d been accused of murder and his wife, Lydia, of witchcraft. Although he proved himself innocent (The Devil’s Cold Dish, 2016), his wife is still in danger. So he’s given his farm to his eldest son and taken a heavily pregnant Lydia and their six children to Zion. Even though they haven’t signed the Covenant, they must live as celibate Shakers. Rees shares his quarters not with Lydia but with Jabez, whose body is soon found drowned in a laundry tub. Rees knows Jabez's death was no accident as soon as he sees the bloody wound on his head. When elders Solomon and Jonathan finally agree to let Rees ask questions, they express the hope the killer was an outsider. Rees is sure it is one of the brethren and is worried for the safety of his family. But he hasn’t told Lydia that he’s given their home away because it’s unsafe for her to return. The next to die is mentally challenged young Calvin, who may have seen the killer while sneaking out at night to visit the horses. Rees has a hard time controlling his temper while questioning the brethren because he knows they’re hiding secrets from him. When he finally admits to Lydia that they have no home, she reminds him that she inherited a farm nearby that the Shakers think should belong to the community. Desperate to find the killer and a home for his family, Rees resolves to follow every clue, especially when a young girl vanishes from Zion. Is she another victim of a ruthless killer?
An absorbing look at the early Shaker communities, whose very lifestyle set them up for eventual failure, through the eyes of an imperfect man doing his best for his family.