Tuesday, September 27, 2011
'Regulated for Murder': Picking Sides is Tough in this Revolutionary Mystery
Review: Regulated for Murder (Kindle Edition October 14, 2011)
Author: Suzanne Adair
Colonial America was a place full of intrigue and danger, for everyone involved. This included not only the colonists, but the British or "redcoats" as they were called. This story is about one, in particular. Lieutenant Michael Stoddard of His Majesty's Eighty-Second Regiment based in Wilmington, NC. The novel opens as Stoddard and his crew conduct a raid upon the offices of crooked land agent Horatio Bowater, who seems to have beaten feet, hastily, leaving a note claiming a "family emergency." Yeah, right ...
But that's not what the story is about. Not exactly. You see, Stoddard is sent on a mission by his superior, Major James Henry Craig. (Three names! He must be mighty important, huh? :)) Stoddard must deliver a message to General Cornwallis. Hey, even I've heard of that guy! :-)
However, there's more to this assignment than meets the eye. I can't go into details, for as they say, that would be telling.
Just know this. Michael has a kind of ... agenda. He takes dangerous courier assignments of this sort with a goal in the back of his mind. It all has to do with a really evil person working within the ranks of the British military.
Anyhow, so ... Michael gets the assignment to take the message to Cornwallis. And, to do that, he must connect with a man named Griggs in ... what city? ... Hillsborough. Right! But as Michael arrives he sees a shadowy figure slipping away into the trees, and he goes into Griggs' house (eventually, because no one answers the door) and guess what? Griggs is, like, so dead! Oh, no! So not good! :-O
And then the sheriff (who's kind of a, um, grouchy guy) shows up and questions Michael, who tells him his name is Michael Compton and that he's a business man from Cross Creek who came to pay respects on behalf of a neighbor, as well as to deliver a love letter, blah, blah ... way to go, Michael! Make it up as you go, brother!
Hey! I'm cheering for the redcoat. Whose side am I on here? LOL
Like I was saying, Michael comes under scrutiny due to this murder. He gets enlisted to help solve it, against his will, so he does what he has to in order to keep the peace and maintain his cover. Because Hillsborough is full of people who don't exactly warm up to redcoats, if you get my drift.
Fortunately, he has local sympathizers in his, um, "cousin" Kate Duncan and Aunt Rachel White. (Boy, is Rachel a piece of work or what? Kind of a hard case. :)) They take him in and help him out. And, yes, a few sparks fly between Kate and Michael. Hmm ...
What this all adds up to is a great mystery and suspenseful historical thriller. Suzanne Adair’s writing is smooth and evocative. The action scenes will leave you breathless. And the notion that no one knows who's on what side pervades the story in a most intriguing way.
The thing is Michael only has so much time to relay his message to Cornwallis and how's he going to do it if he's stuck in Hillsborough solving a murder, while trying not to blow his cover? Heavens to Betsy (Ross)! LOL
And Michael really wishes he had his able assistant Nick Spry there to help him. Did I not mention him? Yeah, Nick Spry. Except he sometimes goes by Miller.
I realize this seems terribly confusing. But it will all make sense, if you read the novel. Trust me on this. Really! :-)
And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I highly recommend this book.