A Marked Man (An Abigail Adams Mystery)
by Barbara Hamilton
Cover Artist: Griesbach & Martucci
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425237083
Date: 05 October 2010 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincy Adams, investigates the murder of a British official in A Marked Man by Barbara Hamilton. In rebellious Boston of 1774 Abigail Adams responds to the plight of a patriot accused of the murder. Tempers among the local populace run high and the British are determined to quell the nascent rebellion.
A staunch Puritan, Abigail juggles caring for her four children, household chores, and her religious duties in uncertain times. Her husband John, a busy lawyer, writes pamphlets for the rebellion and travels away from home a great deal. Investigating the murder and saving a man's life complicate Abigail's busy life.
Few Bostonians or the English liked the victim, but the British military cannot allow the murder of one of their own, no matter how bad his behavior, to go unpunished. One dedicated officer familiar with the victim, Sir Jonathan Cottrell, helps Abigail in her efforts to free Harry Knox, the accused.
Harry, enamored of a Boston's merchant and Loyalist's daughter, Lucy Fluckner, threatened Cottrell for his treatment of Lucy and attempted to thrash him. Later, when the governor's servants find Cottrel dead in an alley suspicions centers on Harry. His support of the patriot cause makes him especially vulnerable. Abigail knows Harry spent that night printing seditious pamphlets, but cannot reveal that to the authorities.
As Abigail struggles to uncover the murderer, her life and her family are threatened. Other victims of intimidation are less lucky as people disappear or are found dead.
This is the second of Hamilton's mysteries featuring Abigail. The first, The Ninth Daughter, received wide approval for its historical details, although some objected to Hamilton's use of Abigail as a detective. Historical facts strengthen the story along with comments about the patriots and their actions. Paul Revere and Sam Adams figure prominently.
Some readers may object to the modern attitudes of the characters, but Hamilton documents details relating to real people who appear in the mystery. She provides enough surprises to keep readers' interest coupled with a thrilling ending to the novel.