TURNING THE TIDE
By Edith Maxwell
Emotions are running high the first week of November in 1888. It’s time for Americans to elect a new president: American men, that is. The Women’s Suffrage Association in the small Massachusetts town of Amesbury, under the leadership of local attorney Rowena Felch, is planning a major demonstration for the morning of Election Day: they will demand that women be given the right to vote. Rowena calls a meeting of the group the Saturday night before the election, and members of the huge crowd in attendance are all eager to wear the yellow sash, identifying them as a suffragist.
One of the women at the meeting is Quaker midwife Rose Carroll, a longtime supporter of the women’s movement. As a midwife, Rose is used to handling all sorts of medical emergencies, but nothing prepared her for finding the body of Rowena Felch hidden under a bush in front of her home the morning after the meeting concluded. Rose can’t help wanting to know who committed the murder, and begins to ask questions about the dead woman. Unfortunately, she quickly discovers many people who had a motive for wanting Rowena dead. At the top of the list is Rowena’s controlling husband, a prominent doctor who conveniently was “out of town at a medical convention” when the crime was committed. Also, Rowena’s recent promotion at her law firm cost a male colleague his job, allowing yet another suspect to be focused upon. After Rose’s own life is threatened, identifying the killer as quickly as possible becomes more than just a mission; it is now a matter of personal safety for herself and her family.
“Turning the Tide” is the third in Edith Maxwell’s Quaker Midwife Mystery series. Not only is it a satisfying whodunit, but it’s also an excellent, well-researched look at life in the United States in the late nineteenth century. Highly recommended.