The Bartered Body by J.R. Lindermuth

The Bartered Body by J.R. Lindermuth
Publisher: Milford House Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Full Length (158 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Why would thieves steal the body of a dead woman?

That’s the most challenging question yet to be faced by Sylvester Tilghman, the third of his family to serve as sheriff of Arahpot, Jordan County, Pennsylvania, in the waning days of the 19th century.

And it’s not just any body but that of Mrs. Arbuckle, Nathan Zimmerman’s late mother-in-law. Zimmerman is burgess of Arahpot and Tilghman’s boss, which puts more than a little pressure on the sheriff to solve the crime in a hurry.

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It will take all of Syl’s skills and the help of his deputy and friends to untangle the various threads and bring the criminals to justice.

Anything can be useful if it ends up in the right hands.

Sylvester was an intelligent and thorough investigator. I enjoyed seeing him investigate all of the clues about what was really happening in his community. He didn’t leave a single stone unturned no matter how little it seemed to be related to the case at hand, and that made him a fascinating sheriff to read about. His dedication to his work and his strong emotional bond to the people he served only made me like him even more. I couldn’t have picked a better sheriff for this town.

This book had such a large cast of characters that I struggled to keep track of everyone.Just about everybody was introduced in the beginning, but their relationships to each other weren’t always made clear immediately. The combination of getting to know a few dozen different folks and remembering how they all knew each other made it hard to be sure of who was who, especially for the characters who only popped up occasionally.

The mystery itself was well written. I appreciated the way the plot introduced various hints about who may or may not have been responsible for the theft of the corpse as well as everything that happened after that scene. It gave me exactly enough information to come up with my own theories about who the culprit was and why they did it without making anything too obvious.

This is the third instalment in a series. It can be read on its own or out of order.

The Bartered Body should be read by anyone who enjoys thought-provoking mysteries.