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Death in the Great Dismal

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Finding themselves in a slave community hidden within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will Rees and his wife Lydia get caught up in a dangerous murder case where no one trusts them. September 1800, Maine. Will Rees is beseeched by Tobias, an old friend abducted by slave catchers years before, to travel south to Virginia to help transport his pregnant wife, Ruth, back north. Tho Finding themselves in a slave community hidden within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will Rees and his wife Lydia get caught up in a dangerous murder case where no one trusts them. September 1800, Maine. Will Rees is beseeched by Tobias, an old friend abducted by slave catchers years before, to travel south to Virginia to help transport his pregnant wife, Ruth, back north. Though he's reluctant, Will's wife Lydia convinces him to go . . . on the condition she accompanies them. Upon arriving in a small community of absconded slaves hiding within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will and Lydia are met with distrust. Tensions are high and a fight breaks out between Tobias and Scipio, a philanderer with a bounty on his head known for conning men out of money. The following day Scipio is found dead - shot in the back. Stuck within the hostile Great Dismal and with slave catchers on the prowl, Will and Lydia find themselves caught up in their most dangerous case yet.


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Finding themselves in a slave community hidden within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will Rees and his wife Lydia get caught up in a dangerous murder case where no one trusts them. September 1800, Maine. Will Rees is beseeched by Tobias, an old friend abducted by slave catchers years before, to travel south to Virginia to help transport his pregnant wife, Ruth, back north. Tho Finding themselves in a slave community hidden within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will Rees and his wife Lydia get caught up in a dangerous murder case where no one trusts them. September 1800, Maine. Will Rees is beseeched by Tobias, an old friend abducted by slave catchers years before, to travel south to Virginia to help transport his pregnant wife, Ruth, back north. Though he's reluctant, Will's wife Lydia convinces him to go . . . on the condition she accompanies them. Upon arriving in a small community of absconded slaves hiding within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will and Lydia are met with distrust. Tensions are high and a fight breaks out between Tobias and Scipio, a philanderer with a bounty on his head known for conning men out of money. The following day Scipio is found dead - shot in the back. Stuck within the hostile Great Dismal and with slave catchers on the prowl, Will and Lydia find themselves caught up in their most dangerous case yet.

39 review for Death in the Great Dismal

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    This is the ninth title in Eleanore Kuhns' Will Reese series, but the first I've read. That being the case, I want to note right off that I was able to comfortably follow both the action of this novel and the trajectory of the series nonetheless. Kuhn has a deft touch and can provide background information without being heavy-handed. The central problem of this novel is fascinating. In 1800, a white man, Will Reese, joins his Black friend, Tobias, on a journey to "the great dismal," a swamp which This is the ninth title in Eleanore Kuhns' Will Reese series, but the first I've read. That being the case, I want to note right off that I was able to comfortably follow both the action of this novel and the trajectory of the series nonetheless. Kuhn has a deft touch and can provide background information without being heavy-handed. The central problem of this novel is fascinating. In 1800, a white man, Will Reese, joins his Black friend, Tobias, on a journey to "the great dismal," a swamp which is home to small communities of escaped slaves. Will's wife, still distrustful of him after an unconsummated dalliance he had with a circus performer decides to accompany them. Once there, a murder occurs and Reese, who has had some experience as an amateur detective, feels he can't leave until it is solved. The central mystery is solid, but what really makes this novel a gripping read is its presentation of the tensions of life in the slave-owning south. Will has skin privilege (he gets a last name, Tobias doesn't, among other things) and is naive enough to be regularly surprised by Black characters' distrust of him. The Black population in and around the swamp is interestingly varied, giving a sense of the many different statuses a Black person, escaped or free, might hold at this time. The village in the swamp houses both free Black and runaway slaves. A canal is being built nearby and the working crew includes both slaves "rented out" to the canal builders and escaped slaves, whose runaway status is ignored (perhaps only until the end of the work season, when they can be turned in for a reward). There's more interaction between the slave population on a nearby plantation and those (free and escaped) living in the swamp, than one might expect. Will, no spoiler here, does solve the murder, he and his wife gradually warm to one another again, and a pair of potential couples in the swamp make progress of one kind or another in their relationship. This is a title that will have readers thinking along two lines simultaneously: the book's central plot and the variety of complicated power relationships between Black and white, and Black and Black, at that time. I received a free electronic ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    Thank you to Booklist for the ARC and the opportunity to review this title! January 1, 15 issue: William and Lydia Reese are asked to accompany a friend on a rescue mission into the pro-slavery state of Virginia. Upon arrival in the Great Dismal Swamp, one of the residents is murdered, and William is tasked with finding who committed the heinous act. Then a second body is found. Tensions are high, and trust is running low. Kuhns' ninth entry in the Will Rees series provides a fictional account of Thank you to Booklist for the ARC and the opportunity to review this title! January 1, 15 issue: William and Lydia Reese are asked to accompany a friend on a rescue mission into the pro-slavery state of Virginia. Upon arrival in the Great Dismal Swamp, one of the residents is murdered, and William is tasked with finding who committed the heinous act. Then a second body is found. Tensions are high, and trust is running low. Kuhns' ninth entry in the Will Rees series provides a fictional account of a little-known, real-life event from the early 1800s. At the time, The Great Dismal Swamp was a haven for runaway slaves, the dense and tangled landscape offering a protective area. Kuhns' vivid portrayal of the community that developed inside the swamp captures a group of naturally cunning and vigilant people who provided a family for one another when most had none. The mystery itself is drawn out and a bit dry, but the story shines for its historical backbone and atmospheric details. Those factors make it perfect for readers of Margaret Lawrence's Hannah Trevor novels and Eliot Pattison's Bone Rattler series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Will, a weaver, married into Lydia's Shaker faith and has found himself occasionally restless but never so much as now. This is the latest in an intriguing series but will be fine as a standalone because Kuhns provides good background (but not too much for those who have read the earlier books). His friend Tobias, a former slave, beseeches him to help retrieve his wife Ruth from the South. Lydia, using the argument that they can pose as a couple with two slaves on the return, insists on going wi Will, a weaver, married into Lydia's Shaker faith and has found himself occasionally restless but never so much as now. This is the latest in an intriguing series but will be fine as a standalone because Kuhns provides good background (but not too much for those who have read the earlier books). His friend Tobias, a former slave, beseeches him to help retrieve his wife Ruth from the South. Lydia, using the argument that they can pose as a couple with two slaves on the return, insists on going with them (she's also keeping an eye on Will, whose own eye was turned a bit by a circus performer in the last book). Unfortunately once the trio arrives in the Great Dismal swamp and find Ruth, they also find themselves embroiled in the murder of Scipio, an escaped slave who had a number of enemies. Will is very much an outsider but somehow manages to solve the crime. This isn't, to be honest, the best of the series but it's an ambitious effort to take Will outside his comfort zone and explore the issues which faced escaped slaves. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. I'm looking forward to the next one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    1800 Maine. Will Rees is asked by old friend Tobias, to travel to Virginia to help bring his pregnant wife Ruth back to the north. On arriving at the Great Dismal Swamp, place of a small community of absconded slaves, they are soon embroiled in a murder, and Tobias is the main suspect. But then there is another murder, can Will discover the motives and the murderer. An enjoyable and interesting slow-paced historical mystery with its well-rounded main characters. Another good addition to this serie 1800 Maine. Will Rees is asked by old friend Tobias, to travel to Virginia to help bring his pregnant wife Ruth back to the north. On arriving at the Great Dismal Swamp, place of a small community of absconded slaves, they are soon embroiled in a murder, and Tobias is the main suspect. But then there is another murder, can Will discover the motives and the murderer. An enjoyable and interesting slow-paced historical mystery with its well-rounded main characters. Another good addition to this series. An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thanks to the author for the copy of the book. The story takes place in the 1800s, a story of a white man Rees asked by his friend Tobias who is a black man, to travel with him and help him get/bring back his wife who is in a black 'community' hidden in swamp area of Virginia. Shortly after arriving, 2 murders take place and Rees promises to solve their murders. The story is more than that of murders but also presents some of the struggles of being black at a time when slavery continued. Thanks to the author for the copy of the book. The story takes place in the 1800s, a story of a white man Rees asked by his friend Tobias who is a black man, to travel with him and help him get/bring back his wife who is in a black 'community' hidden in swamp area of Virginia. Shortly after arriving, 2 murders take place and Rees promises to solve their murders. The story is more than that of murders but also presents some of the struggles of being black at a time when slavery continued.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marlene Glick

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie DeMoss

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  11. 4 out of 5

    KES

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Terry Pearson

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carol A Gosselin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alma Collins

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Bradshaw

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Gannon

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan G

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Hesson

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diana Petty-stone

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cathie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ctooele

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Judy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mick Loves Books

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeanna Massman

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kay

  32. 4 out of 5

    Sari

  33. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Angle-boyer

  34. 5 out of 5

    Owlsinger

  35. 5 out of 5

    Lauracaren

  36. 4 out of 5

    Susan Schuler

  37. 5 out of 5

    anna

  38. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  39. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Demsky

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