Set in a tumultuous period that helped to forge a nation, a riveting mystery that takes a volunteer constable through the wilds of colonial North Carolina to track down a shadowy killer
When a traveling peddler discovers the murder of a farm family in colonial North Carolina whose bodies have been left in bizarre positions, circumstances point to an Indian attack. But Harry Woodyard, a young planter who is the volunteer constable of Craven County during a period in America's past when there was no professional police force, finds clues that seem to indicate otherwise. The county establishment wants to blame the crime on a former inhabitant, an elderly Indian who has suddenly reappeared in the vicinity like an old ghost. But he is a person to whom Harry owes much.
Defying the authorities, Harry goes off on his own to find the real killer. His investigation takes him up the Atlantic seacoast and turns into a perilous hunt for even bigger quarry that could affect the future of Britain in the American continent.
Fans of Eliot Pattison's Bone Rattler series (Soul of the Fire, etc.) will relish Smith's impressive debut, set in 1759. Royal constable Harry Woodyard looks into a multiple murder at a plantation in North Carolina's Craven County. Someone shot nine-year-old Andrew Campbell in a field, then rested the boy's head on a pillow and put a sprig of rosemary under his nose. Andrew's parents were slain in the house, their bodies also posed; only the baby was left alive. Most people believe that Indians were responsible, though the sparing of the infant's life is uncharacteristic of similar Indian massacres. When Comet Elijah, a Tuscarora Indian and mentor to Harry, turns up in the vicinity, he's arrested. Convinced of Comet Elijah's innocence, Harry undertakes a perilous quest for the truth, which he believes is connected to a Masonic medal he found under the Campbell baby's crib. Smith balances historical detail and a twisty whodunit plot like a veteran.