Death of a Dutch Uncle
DEATH OF A DUTCH UNCLE
The Hudson Valley Dutch were a weird bunch, according to M. E. Kemp’s new historical mystery novel, DEATH OF A DUTCH UNCLE. Sexy Mohawks, licentious nephews, merry widows, scheming clerks and one poisoner populate the region and it’s the job of two nosy Puritans from Boston to sort through the suspects. Hetty Henry is a wealthy widow with connections to high and low society. She is in the Albany colony to buy wheat flour and to further her business interests with Mohawk leader Billy Blue Bear. (That’s not all she furthers with Blue Bear.) When Laurens de Noyes drops dead on Boston Common, Increase “Creasy” Cotton, the young Boston minister, is sent to Albany to find the poisoner of the Patroon’s nephew. Since de Noyes has left a trail of broken hearts and indignant fathers, there’s no lack of suspects. The novel moves from Manhattan piracy (there were pirates in Manhattan, then as now,) into the Adirondacks, stopping in Old Saratoga with a hunting party led by the Schuyler boys.
There’s a funny scene where Hetty is forced into an icehouse and her clumsy captor accidentally locks them both inside; another where Hetty proposes a sweet scheme of revenge against a land-grabbing kidnapper and a third that involves sex and a pine tree. Kemp tells a rollicking tale peopled with unusual characters, historical accuracy as in the fragrant spices of colonial Dutch cooking that makes the reader reach for the nearest doughnut (krullje,) and a strong sense of the Hudson Valley as it used to be.
Saratoga Summer Magazine ‘07 -- Julie Lemoe
Late seventeenth-century Colonial America was not well known for encouraging enterprising women, but there were exceptions. Hetty Henry, twice-widowed businesswoman from Boston, is everything a good historical sleuth should be. She’s quick-witted and clever, personable and loyal to her friends—and she has just a hint of larceny in her soul! M. E. Kemp’s DEATH OF A DUTCH UNCLE is a fast-paced visit to the New York colony in 1691, full of vivid details and peopled by fascinating characters designed to appeal to today’s readers while still remaining true to their historical milieu.
M. E. Kemp brings Dutch Albany to colorful life as spunky widow Hetty Henry and young Boston minister Increase (Creasy) Cotton once again team up to unravel a mystery and expose a killer. Kemp’s trademark twists and entertaining characters kept me turning pages half the night.
, writer of the Lake George Mysteries: Best Laid Plans
and Beneath The Surface
DEATH OF A DUTCH UNCLE
When Laurens de Noyes dies on Boston Common, right at the feet of Increase "Creasy" Cotton, a minister and cousin to Cotton Mather, Creasy is asked to investigate. De Noyes was the nephew of the Patroon in Albany, but when Creasy announces the death to the Patroon and to de Noyes’s wife, their reactions are oddly muted. Creasy is joined in his search for the killer by the lively and indomitable widow Hetty Henry, a savvy Boston businesswoman who often trades goods in the Albany area.
Kemp vividly depicts the frontier settlement that was Albany in the 1690s, with its Dutch customs and manners that were so different from those of the British. Hetty is good friends with Billy Blue Bear, the Harvard-educated Mohawk leader, but the local population is particularly wary of Indians: the Schenectady massacre had just recently occurred. Hetty is not the only strong female character, and the interplay between the men and the women is a very enjoyable aspect of the novel. The murder does get solved, by the way, but there is so much to enjoy along the way that I’d almost forgotten about it! I very much hope to read more of the adventures of Creasy and Hetty, and plan to hunt up the first book in the series.
Historical Novels Review, Issue 41, August 2007 -- Trudi E. Jacobson
Murder, mystery, adultery and blackmail all come into play in M. E. Kemp's DEATH OF A DUTCH UNCLE .
This whodunnit takes place in Colonial period Albany, as two would-be detectives try to solve the murder of Dutchman Laurens de Noyes. Kemp fills the setting with historical details to immerse the reader in the time period and intensify the mystery. Widowed businesswoman Hetty Henry and Boston minister Increase "Creasy" Cotton must deal with Indian attacks, kidnapping and piracy before they can discover the truth behind the murder.