New Quaker Midwife Mystery and Research Guest Post: Called to Justice by Edith Maxwell

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Praise for Delivering the Truth
by Edith Maxwell (Book 1 in this series)

Ms. Maxwell weaves a sturdy cloth from the stories of the various characters in Delivering the Truth.
~Back Porchervations

I enjoyed every minute of this book…
~Shelley’s Book Case

This was a very entertaining read. I really enjoy reading Edith Maxwell’s writing as it flows so well.
~Melina’s Book Blog

…a different type of historical cozy…I enjoyed reading a book where the protagonist is a midwife and of the Quaker faith…
~Storeybook Reviews

Rose is a smart character and the history of the story is done well.
~A Chick Who Reads

The author takes us into Rose’s life, making us feel as though we are right there with her in every situation. The mystery is well-developed and leaves the reader guessing right to the end.
~Book Babble

Quaker midwife Rose Carroll is enjoying the 1888 Independence Day evening fireworks with her beau when a teenaged Quaker mill girl is found shot dead. After a former slave and fellow Quaker is accused of the murder, Rose delves into the crime, convinced of the man’s innocence. An ill-mannered mill manager, an Irish immigrant, and the victim’s young boyfriend come under suspicion even as Rose’s future with her handsome doctor suitor becomes unsure. Rose continues to deliver babies and listen to secrets, finally figuring out one criminal – only to be threatened by the murderer, with three lives at stake. Can she rescue herself, a baby, and her elderly midwifery teacher in time?


Runabout, Phaeton, Brougham, Rockaway?

 I had the great fortune to go riding in a carriage last summer with a woman who really knows her stuff.  I’m always looking to improve the details in my late nineteenth-century Quaker Midwife Mysteries, and Susan Koso is one way to do it.

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She owns a mare named Hope. She owns a number of horse-drawn vehicles that my midwife Rose Carroll might very well have ridden in. She knows what kind of bridles and tack were used in 1888. And she’s written academic published papers on the roads, the carriage industry, and the economics of the late 1800s. How could I go wrong?

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I first met Susan at a couple of years ago at an Amesbury Carriage Museum event, where this not-young woman showed herself to be more agile and flexible than me, crawling around helping to secure carriages the museum was moving down from a second-floor loft.

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In late June when the flies and mosquitoes were all hatched and bothersome, I drove to our riding appointment a few town’s south of here, and I met her horse, Hope. Hope’s crocheted ear guard is similar to those horses would have worn to keep the bugs out of their ears and eyes. Susan hitched Hope to a beautiful restored runabout (an open two-seater conveyance with four wheels pulled by one horse), handed me a helmet, and off we went.

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We wandered around Essex County Greenbelt Association trails, rode all through Appleton Farm (which used to be my walking route when I lived in that town), and moseyed back, talking all the way. I got to experience Hope trotting, I hung on for dear life on bumpy trails and around corners, and I generally soaked up the atmosphere.

On a couple of trails, Susan said, “This would have looked exactly the same in Rose Carrols’s day.” I had to agree!
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As when I went riding the year before, I wore my long linen skirt and low boots to get a small feel for the clothing of the day.
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I never stopped picking Susan’s considerable brain. I learned more about all the different kinds of vehicles: phaetons, broughams, traps, and Rockaways, among others. She said the dash board in front of our knees – named to prevent hooves from dashing mud up onto passengers and drivers – might have been covered in patent leather. She told me a horse pushes a carriage rather than pulls it (which I still don’t quite get). I even heard about the “fifth wheel” – but that one’s going to need further study before I use it in a book.

She suggested a couple of convenient ways for a malicious villain (oh, I guess that’s redundant) to do away with someone by cutting almost through an important strap or to cause a horse to be a runaway. This is a woman after my own heart. Susan had also finished reading Delivering the Truth, and kindly pointed out a couple of small errors in horse-and-carriage procedure. I thanked her, of course. And then she read the manuscript for Called to Justice within a couple of days’ time and corrected me on several points in that book, too.

I’m so delighted and grateful to have found a subject matter expert willing to share her extensive knowledge with me. Guess who’s getting a complimentary copy of each book in the series as long as it runs?


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