Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Berkley. Sept. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9780593336946. pap. $17.00. M
When Emily Dickinson hires Willa Noble as a housemaid in 1855, neither young woman knows it will lead to a murder investigation. At 18, Willa’s brother Henry dreams of adventure. But his schemes lead to his death in the livery stable. With no one left in her family, a grieving Willa confides in Emily that she suspects her brother was killed. Emily is determined to find Henry’s killer. She and Willa soon uncover stories of slave catchers and secret involvement in the Underground Railroad in Amherst, MA. Emily even finds ways to investigate when she joins her father and family in Washington, DC, insisting on bringing her maid along so they can follow and meet with men from Amherst. But when they’re back home and questioning local residents, they stir up trouble that endangers them.
VERDICT Agatha Award winner Flower’s (“Amish Candy Shop” and “Magical Bookshop” series) first historical mystery introduces a courageous Emily Dickinson as a protagonist who’s stronger than expected. The thoughtful story involving class, social, and political issues may appeal to the poet’s fans, as well as readers of Edith Maxwell’s “Quaker Midwife Mysteries” series.
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