A woman physician is an exotic beast in 1857, and it's no wonder that the citizens of Seneca Falls, N.Y., don't all welcome Dr. Neva Cardoza with open arms. In addition to her sex, Dr. Cardoza can count on her temper (spirited) and her convictions (she's ardent for temperance) to make all the enemies she can handle. Fortunately, she hears no complaints from the growing number of corpses she's asked to examine: a farmer who correctly claimed his life was in danger; the Grimm family shepherd; the grim Grimm patriarch; another citizen who needed to be jailed for his own (inadequate) protection; and the citizen's niece, a lady of the night now emerged into the town's daylight. Not enough homicide for you? Before she's through, Seneca Falls librarian/detective Glynis Tryon (North Star Conspiracy, 1993, etc.) will rescue Iroquois deputy Jacques Sundown, just back after a long absence, from the dock by linking the five murders to a chain of violent deaths reaching back nearly ten years--if she doesn't get distracted by the sumptuous subplots Monfredo can't resist sneaking in on spiritualism, Iroquois vengeance, battered women, and the zoning laws for a tavern that provides other refreshments as well. More densely imagined, satisfying historical fare whose proto-feminist spin feels just right.