THE STRANGE DEATH OF MISTRESS COFFIN by Robert J. Begiebing

THE STRANGE DEATH OF MISTRESS COFFIN

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Murder and assorted depravity in 17th-century New England: aspiring young lumber-trader Richard Browne is asked to look into the mysterious assault and murder (based on an actual unsolved mystery in colonial New Hampshire) of Kathrin Coffin. At first his suspicion falls on Jared Higgins, hired by misanthropic Balthazar Coffin to ferry his wife to a nearby seacoast market; but then Coffin drops his own legal action against Higgins, who disappears into the wilderness. Browne's desultory yet haunted years-long search for the truth will lead him to an Indian settlement to meet White Robin-the missing Higgins-to an unlikely alliance with an invaluable witch, to a wintry romance with Higgins's forlorn wife Elizabeth, and-through a revelatory journal-to an unsparing close-up of Mistress Coffin herself before the secret of her death is finally revealed 35 years later. Not for everyone, but if the colonial trappings don't put you off, this story-by turns graceful, bleak, and tender, but never merely quaint-could be a find.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-945575-56-4
Page count: 252pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991




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