This is a rich historical mystery set in 1892 Portland, Maine, complete with ritual murders, sinister madmen, secret societies, and seances. Women in New England are being murdered, and their bodies displayed in gruesome fashion accompanied by strange symbolic objects and messages written in the Abenaki Indian language. Local deputy marshal Archie Lean and his colleagues aren't quite up to the task of solving the murder of Maggie Keene in Portland. The coroner brings in Perceval Grey, a half-Abenaki criminalist with a brilliant mind and a sparkling wit.Grey and Lean work with the town librarian Helen Prescott to discover how the murders might be connected to the Salem witch trials of 200 years before. Kieran Shields's first novel has atmosphere aplenty, and a wealth of historical detail that recreates Portland, Maine of 1892 in all the particulars. At times the story slows to a crawl while the author sets the scene for authenticity. This is more noticeable in the first half, and things pick up in the second half as the mystery gets more exciting.Despite the slow patches, I have to go with four stars for the quality of the writing and the dedication to complexity in both plot and historical context.