The Truth of All Things

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When Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is called in to investigate a prostitute's murder in Portland, Maine, he's surprised to find the body laid out like a pentagram and pinned to the earth with a pitchfork.  He's even more surprised to learn that this death by "sticking" is a traditional method of killing a witch.
     Baffled by the ritualized murder scene, Lean secretly enlists the help of historian Helen Prescott and brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey. ...
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The Truth of All Things

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Overview

When Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is called in to investigate a prostitute's murder in Portland, Maine, he's surprised to find the body laid out like a pentagram and pinned to the earth with a pitchfork.  He's even more surprised to learn that this death by "sticking" is a traditional method of killing a witch.
     Baffled by the ritualized murder scene, Lean secretly enlists the help of historian Helen Prescott and brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey. Although skeptical of one another's methods, together the detectives pursue the killer's trail through postmortems and opium dens, into the spiritualist societies and lunatic asylums of gothic New England. Before the killer closes in on his final victim, they must decipher the secret pattern to these murders--a pattern hidden within the dark history of the Salem witch trials.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 1892 in Portland, Maine, Shields’s stellar first novel plays ingenious variations on both the Holmesian omnipotent sleuth and the serial killer theme. The discovery of a ritually slaughtered young woman in a machine shop presents Deputy Marshal Archie Lean with a case way outside his experience. Someone stuck a pitchfork through Maggie Keene’s neck, cut off her right hand, and arranged her half-naked body in the form of a pentagram. Chalked on the side of a nearby gear is a string of letters that could be some sort of code. Lean turns for help to Perceval Grey, a part-Indian Pinkerton agent known for his unorthodox scientific methods. In short order, Grey identifies the chalked message’s language as that of the Abenaki tribe and, alarmingly, deduces that Keene is her killer’s second victim. Lean and Grey must overcome local prejudices inflamed by the crime, even as the murderer toys with the authorities by sending threatening letters. Meanwhile, clues emerge that the slayings may relate to the bicentennial of the Salem witchcraft trials. Strong characters and a nicely convoluted, intelligent plot bode well for any sequel. Agents: Suzanne Gluck and Erin Malone, William Morris. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“This is a book that will appeal to readers who relish the intricacies of a Sherlockian plot….Strong characters and convincing historical detail make the novel work.”
Hallie Ephron, Boston Globe

“Maine has a fascinating new writer in Kieran Shields … whose dense and intriguing new novel … works its way into your bloodstream and takes you to dark places in New England history that will challenge your mind and shiver your skin.”
—Maine Sunday Telegram
 
“Shields creates a pitch perfect atmosphere … Fans of historical thrillers will love ‘The Truth of All Things’ … a winner.”
The Associated Press

 
“A well paced and intriguingly contrived mystery … rollicking, entertaining, … The Truth of All Things has its own magic and once under its spell, it’s impossible to put down.” —Down East Magazine
 
“[An] outstanding debut … a gripping novel … Shields' characters are fascinating” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Shields's stellar first novel plays ingenious variations on both the Holmesian omnipotent sleuth and the serial killer theme....Strong characters and a nively convoluted, intelligent plot bode well for any sequel."
Publishers Weekly (starred)

“The detailed historical information and the intricate mystery hold your attention to the last page in Shields’ startling debut.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)
 
“Beautifully written and sprinkled with historical data….Shields, who is a native of Portland [Maine], offers meticulous research into the city’s history in this heart-pounding suspense that should delight any lover of period mysteries.”
Mystery Scene

"Kieran Shields has written a knuckle biting gothic mystery of ritual murder, revenge, and the harrowing heritage of witchcraft in New England. Readers will love exploring Shields' world of the eerie faces of nineteenth century Maine, from temperance societies to historical societies to whorehouses and everything in between. This rollicking tale puts an entirely new spin on the legacy of the Salem witch trials, and will keep lovers of historical fiction turning pages until the final gripping conclusion."
Katherine Howe, New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

"This story brims with rich detail, the line between right and wrong smudged beyond recognition.  What a unique and claustrophobic world --- Maine at the turn of the 20th century --- but the ties to an unspeakable past are haunting and unmistakable.  It's a delight from start to finish.  A terrific story, told terrifically."
Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Jefferson Key

"It is hard to neatly categorize this novel, and I think to do so would be to miss out on the riches of Shields's storytelling. At once a literary novel and a work of historical fiction, this book is also equal parts great mystery and page-turning gothic-thriller."  BookBrowse

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307720276
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 9.46 (w) x 6.18 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

KIERAN SHIELDS grew up in Portland, Maine. He graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Maine School of Law.  He continues to reside along the coast of Maine with his wife and two children.  This is his first novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    The best book I've read this year.

    The best book I've read this year.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 29, 2012

    long and dull.

    this is one of the most boring books i have ever read.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    A cut above for historical murder fiction. Great detail with sty

    A cut above for historical murder fiction. Great detail with style and a touch of wit. Hard to believe a first novel is this good and have already ordered the new adventure.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 12, 2012

    Intriguing book, and anxious to read more by this author.

    Intriguing book, and anxious to read more by this author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    LIKED IT

    NOT THE BEST I'VE READ BUT IT KEPT MY INTEREST.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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