Someone is digging up the graves at the Strangers’ Burying Ground in Toronto — the final resting place of criminals, vagrants, indigents, and alcoholics — and the only person who seems to care is the sexton, Morgan Spicer. The authorities are unconcerned; after all, for years the growing village of Yorkville has been clamouring to have the bodies moved and the Burying Ground closed.
The distraught Spicer enlists the aid of his old friend Thaddeus Lewis, who has unexpectedly returned to preaching on the Yonge Street Circuit. The graveyard’s secrets lead Lewis and his son Luke into the hidden heart of 1851 Toronto where they discover a trail of corruption and blackmail tied to an old sexual scandal and a dangerous enemy intent on vengeance.
In this engaging fourth installment of Kellough's (47 Sorrows) Thaddeus Lewis Mystery series, the crime and intrigue in pre-confederation Canada continues. In 1851 Thaddeus returns to work as a so-called saddlebag preacher, guiding his horse and cart through the rural area north of Toronto in an attempt to attract villagers to his beloved but dwindling Methodist Episcopal church. When off duty, Thaddeus reverts to his pastime as sleuth to help an old friend investigate a puzzle at a Strangers' Burying Ground, where intruders have mysteriously unearthed a long-buried body. Aiding the investigation is Thaddeus's son, Luke, a recently graduated medical doctor with a secret, who has just arrived in the village of Yorkville to take up a position as junior partner to an aging and eccentric doctor. When Luke rescues a beautiful young girl from the clutches of slave catchers, he is propelled into a dangerous world that has an unexpected connection to the graveyard investigation. Situating the exploits of these endearing and surprisingly deep characters against the volatile backdrop of 19th-century Upper Canada, Kellough weaves a tale that is almost as much a history lesson as it is a thrill ride. Agency: Robert Lecker Agency.