By Strangers Mourned is another page turner from the pen of the talented and prolific J.R. Lindermuth. J.R. is my guest today and will tell my readers all about By Strangers Mourned, the latest in his Sheriff Syl Tilghman historical mystery series.
He also pays tribute to the many independent, accomplished, and often overlooked women of the 19th century.
Now for J.R. Lindermuth …
Sylvester Tilghman is the third of his family to serve as sheriff of the bustling rural community of Arahpot, Jordan County, Pennsylvania, in the waning days of the 19th Century.
Syl is a dedicated and energetic lawman and has won the respect of most community leaders and citizens in three previous novels in this historical mystery series. But a goal of another kind continues to elude him. His courtship of Lydia Longlow has progressed. Yet, despite numerous proposals, Lydia still refuses to marry him.
Lydia hasn’t rejected his many proposals because she doesn’t love him. Her resistance is based on her independence. The woman is busy. In addition to caring for her elderly parents and running the family general store, she’s also postmistress, head of the Women’s Temperance League, a Sunday school teacher and sings in the Methodist church choir, among other activities.
Some might question the existence of such an independent woman in the 19th century when male dominance restricted many to the home and childbirth, denying them the right to own property, vote and participate in many other areas. Truth is, there were many more such women in the period than you might suspect. Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman (better known as Nellie Bly), for example, was only one of numerous women journalists. They were derisively known as ‘stunt reporters,’ because men didn’t think they should be taken seriously.
There were entrepreneurs like Lydia Pinkham. Inventors like Tabitha Babbitt, who invented the circular saw, and one might also mention Elizabeth Blackwell, who blazed the path for women in the medical profession. Others founded religions. Some even served as soldiers or spies in time of war. And, of course, there were numerous women novelists.
So, Lydia Longlow is not an exception, but an example of the intelligent, energetic women of the period. Syl’s persistence to win her hand continues in By Strangers Mourned, though once more he’s beset with more obstacles than a lesser man could endure.
Blurb for By Strangers Mourned:
Spring is usually heralded as a time of renewal, not murder.
Preparations are underway in the spring of 1899 for the wedding of Deputy Cyrus Gutshall. Sheriff Tilghman is hopeful this will put his sweetheart Lydia Longlow in the marital mood.
But then a woman is found drowned in a local creek.
Doc Mariner’s autopsy reveals the woman is a victim of foul play. The sheriff’s investigation soon puts him on the trail of a mysterious man named Bauer and a gang preying on young immigrant women.
One of the women escapes her captors and comes to their small town in search of help. A coal miner she encounters, a fellow Pole, brings her to Tilghman and helps translate the story of her ordeal. The girl is befriended and sheltered by a coworker of Lydia’s, an act of kindness that puts both young women in danger.
Sylvester Tilghman will need all his detecting skills and the help of his friends to unravel the many skeins of the case before he can dream again of marriage.
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Intrigued? Like I said, By Strangers Mourned is a page turner. It is available in print and electronic format from the publisher, Sunbury Press: https://www.sunburypress.com/collections/all-books/products/by-strangers-mourned?variant=40045793575005
And from other booksellers.
J.R. Lindermuth lives and writes in central Pennsylvania. A retired newspaper reporter and editor, he now serves as librarian of his county historical society where he assists patrons with genealogy and research. He’s the author of 18 novels and two regional histories. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and is a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.