Called to Justice
When Hannah Breed confides to midwife Rose Carroll that she’s pregnant out of wedlock, Rose promises to help her through the pregnancy and figure out a way to break the news to her family. But that night, amid the noise and revelry of the Independence Day fireworks, Hannah 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 focusing in on the culprit only to be threatened herself.
Agatha-nominated and Amazon bestselling author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries, as well as award-winning short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she authors the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. She also wrote two Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker). Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors. You can also find her at EdithMaxwell.com, Twitter, and on Facebook.
Edith, I am delighted to have you by the blog today! I have to give two big congrats on your Agatha Nominations. How has that made you feel going into this second Quaker Midwife book?
Thank you so very much! It’s a huge honor and a lifetime thrill to receive not one, but two Agatha nominations in the same year. (For your readers who don’t know, it’s sort of like the Oscars but for the traditional mystery.) I’m pumped, naturally, to be able to promote Called to Justice with those nominations in the air. The awards are announced at Malice Domestic, the conference at the end of April – so I’m also delighted that Called to Justice will be for sale alongside the book nominated for Best Historical Mystery, Delivering the Truth. The icing on the cake is to also have a Quaker Midwife short story nominated for Best Short Story: “The Mayor and the Midwife.” Fingers crossed, everybody!
Have you celebrated the nominations?
Sure! We shared a bottle of bubbly, my local press came out with a front-page story, and my home town back in California ran a story, too. My friends, family, fans, and Quaker faith community are all super delighted for me.
How did you research this series?
I had to research so many aspects of life in the late 1880s. I’ve driven in an historic carriage. Lived the life of an 1870s family in Maine for a weekend, right down to the chamberpot and the wood cookstove. I’ve read up on police procedure of the time, studied a diary of a young woman in the era, checked a zillion words to see if they were used then, perused John Greenleaf Whittier’s biography, and am a docent-trainee in his house museum. I pour over maps, train timetables, the 1890 Sears &Roebuck catalog, an 1872 manual on midwifery, and historic postcards. I even had a historical seamstress sew me an authentic Quaker dress that I sometimes wear to events. I love the history of the era, and since the books take place here in Amesbury where I live, it’s easy to walk the streets and imagine life as it was then.
Let’s talk about Rose, what is a typical day for her, beyond mysteries?
She lives with her late sister’s five children and their father as a boarder, but she also helps with the cooking and housework. She sees pregnant clients in her parlor/bedroom, and does home visits in the last months of their pregnancies. When she is summoned to a home for a birth, she always goes, no matter what else is happening, and she might not be back home again for 48 hours. She pays another visit or two to the new mom and infant in the next week. She also has a good friend, Bertie Winslow, and they sometimes go on outings to the beach or to a lecture or concert. And Rose’s beau, David Dodge, takes her out in his doctor’s buggy for a drive or for dinner. Their romance continues to develop in Called to Justice, although the conflict with his mother does not disappear.
How did you decide to use the Quaker culture in your series?
I have been a member of the Religious Society of Friends since 1989. The lovely simple Meetinghouse where we worship on Sundays is a ten-minute walk from my house. It’s the same building, with ten-foot tall windows, that Whittier oversaw the construction of when it was new. I love bringing the quiet, peaceable sensibilities of the faith into a mystery series. My amateur sleuth Rose Carroll is already unusual, in that she is an independent, unmarried businesswoman (although if David has anything to do with her marital status, that will change). On top of her independent status, she’s a Quaker, so she also dresses, speaks, and sometimes acts unlike ordinary townspeople. I like having an outsider of sorts for a protagonist. It gives her a different perspective, and lets her muse about issues in ways lifetime residents of the town who belong to more conventional religions would not.
Out of the returning characters, do you have any that are a bit stubborn on providing their part?
That’s a very intriguing question. Hmm. I would have said Rose’s brother-in-law Frederick was a reluctant cast member, but he gets a much bigger role in book #3, Turning the Tide (April 2018). If anything, I have minor characters waving their hands in the air, saying, “Pick me! What about me?” Rose’s mother, a suffrage activist, comes to visit in book #3, and I loved getting to know her better. Maybe we’ll see Rose’s father Allan in book #4.
What exciting characters, I am looking forward to reading their stories! Edith this has been so much fun. Final question:What is next for this series?
I’m delighted to announce that Midnight Ink has renewed my contract for at least two more books, so the adventures of Rose, David, Whittier, and the others will continue into 2020, and I hope beyond.
Thanks for sharing with me today, and it was an honor!
Book Review by Bree Herron
I have always found the Quaker culture to be unique and fascinating. They are very prevalent on the East Coast, where I was first exposed to them. All exposure was a pure delight for this historian.
“Search for the answer. Listen for the small still voice within. Wait upon the Light.”
Rose is and will be one of my favorite sleuths ever. She is sweet, truly sweet. A softness is created around Rose giving a read the definition of cozy. She is the community’s midwife, with the ability to find answers to mysteries. To hunt down an unjust murderer, Rose will be timid yet strong in the face of danger.This time around she gets a really sweet ending. The plot in this book was perfect. I loved that it really fit the era, and the culture of the location. Many Mill girls were struggling, and many had unsavory secrets. Rose comes to find more than just a murdered soul, she finds ones that are twisted from their pasts.
Edith Maxwell has created a series around the most charming cozy mystery character I have come across in the many years I have read this genre. Cozy mysteries are suppose to be light-hearted, quick witted, strong characters, and a plot that leads you wanting more. I really feel that after reading this book, it is the new definition of cozy mysteries. Rose will be the character that you will be waiting to pre-order, she is that character that fits into anytime of the day and fills your heart with a smile. I don’t know how Edith was able to mold Rose, but I am sure thankful she did. As a wise, wise doctor stated ” I have never met a more competent woman in all respects..” Rose is that and so much more. I can’t wait to solve the next mystery with her!
Edith would love to answer any question readers may have and she has a couple for you as well!
- What are you most picky about when you read a historical novel? If you catch any anachronisms in my books, I hope you’ll let me know.
- Have any of you had midwife-assisted births or home births, or were you happy to go with the latest medical technology?
How can we have this much fun without a giveaway?! Here it is folks, and good luck to you all!