A Simple Murder, by Eleanor Kuhns
Are you looking for a new mystery author? I’m happy to recommend Eleanor Kuhn’s outstanding debut, A Simple Murder. Late 18th century Maine is an uncommon setting for fiction, and that much of the book is set in Zion, a Shaker community, makes it even more unusual. William Rees has been a traveling weaver for five years since his wife died, leaving his sister and brother-in-law to manage his farm and raise his son, David. During an unexpected trip home, Rees learns that the farm and David have both been neglected. David, 13, has run away to live with the Shakers. Rees is allowed to stay at Zion for a while and set up his loom because a young Shaker woman has been killed, and Rees investigated crimes in the Continental Army.
A former Shaker, Lydia Jane Farrell, is assigned to help Reese question the women and they visit nearby farms and the local sheriff. Horse theft, flying musket balls, and the unsolved disappearance of two Shakers on a trip two years earlier make for a lively mystery. Rees tries to repair his relationship with David, and puzzle out the motive for all of the crimes.