The Last Witch of Langenburg: murder in a German village (M) by Thomas Robisheaux
True Crime.”Starred Review. Duke historian Robisheaux turns the obscure story of a smalltown German woman convicted of witchcraft into a marvelous window onto a society in crisis. On Shrove Tuesday, 1672, Eva Küstner delivered Shrovetide cakes baked by her mother to her neighbor, Anna Fessler, who was still recuperating from the birth of her child a few weeks earlier. A few days after eating some of the cakes, Anna died a painful death. Almost immediately, the community accused Eva and her mother, Anna Schmeig, of witchcraft.
In this fast-paced account, Robisheaux chronicles the roles that various ministers, lawyers and physicians play in the indictment of Anna Schmeig and her immediate family. Robisheaux shows that Schmeigs trial and execution as a witch grew out of a small villages superstitions and its belief in the power of God to transform an evil event into an exemplary one. Drawing on rich records of the trials of Schmeig and her family, Robisheaux finely crafts a vivid glimpse of a time, place and state of mind that, though remote, is all too familiar.” Publisher Weekly
Circle of Shadows (M)
by Imogen Robertson
Fiction. “Death at the Carnival: riddle, ritual and murder Shrove Tuesday, 1784. While the nobility dance at a masked ball, beautiful Lady Martesen is murdered. Daniel Clode is found by her body, his wrists slit and his memories nightmarish. What has he done? Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther race to the Duchy of Maulberg to save Daniel from the executioner’s axe. There they find a capricious Duke on the point of marriage, a court consumed by luxury and intrigue, and a bitter enemy from the past. After another cruel death, they must discover the truth, no matter how horrific it is.
Does the answer lie with the alchemist seeking the elixir of life? With the automata makers in the Duke’s fake rural idyll? Or in the poisonous lies oozing around the court as the elite strive for power?” – Publisher
Book #4 of the Crowther and Westerman series.
A Murder on London Bridge (M)
by Susanna Gregory
Fiction. “The murder of a man in broad daylight on London Bridge is the first indication that the Earl of Clarendon’s fears of a rebellion against the newly restored monarchy may be well-founded. His spy, Thomas Chaloner, suspects the assassin may be a member of a group dedicated to seeing the return of Puritanism, and at the same time he learns of a faction close to the King determined to bring back the old ways of the Roman Catholic Church. He discovers, too, that the killing on the Bridge is not the only assault committed there recently, and begins to decipher a link between the violence and the people who manage the Bridge and its tottering, ramshackle buildings.
As he moves unobtrusively between White Hall, the elegant mansions along the Strand and the heaving congestion on the only river crossing he becomes aware of an undercurrent of restlessness in the capital. And it soon becomes clear that the groups he is investigating are planning some extraordinary climax to achieve their separate aims on Shrove Tuesday, which gives him very little time to identify the ring-leaders and thwart their intentions …” – Fantastic Fiction
Book #5 of the Thomas Chaloner mysteries series