A Marked Man-Barbara Hamilton

A Marked Man

Barbara Hamilton

Berkley, Oct 5 2010, $14.00

ISBN: 9780425237083

In 1774, two and half months have passed since the infamous (depending on your loyalties) Boston Tea Party.  Teenager Lucy Fluckner asks Abigail Adams to help her friend twentyish bookseller Harry Knox, who is in trouble with the Commonwealth law.  The Sons of Liberty printer was arrested for murdering the King’s Special Commissioner Sir Joseph Cottrell.

Abigail supports freedom from the crown and is proud of her husband John who is a major participant in the Sons of Liberty’s endeavors.  As such she agrees to look into the homicide.  Stunningly, Lucy’s chaperone Mrs. Sandhayes insists the victim was her charge’s fiancé; Lucy denies it as she loathed the philandering Tory and though she fails to say so Abigail knows she loves the accused.  Abigail and John, who is a lawyer, investigate and quickly learns that a Negro female servant vanished from the home of their client’s parents and that the victim had many enemies on all three sides of the brewing revolt. 

The key to the strong second Abigail Adams historical mystery (see The Ninth Daughter) is the sense that the reader is in Boston divided between Loyalists, Neutralists, and Rebels just prior to the Revolutionary War.  The story line is fast-paced and the investigation super, but it is meeting the prime real persona and fictional characters representing the divided times in Boston in 1774 that makes A Marked Man a strong late eighteenth century thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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