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Blazing Tree [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Adamson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 12 2000 Michael Merrick Mysteries
In the first book in this gripping historical mystery series, Boston police reporter Michael Merrick investigates a series of fires--one of which led to murder--within a local Shaker community.

Praise for Mary Jo Adamson's previous novels:

"An engaging detective story peopled with striking characters."--Publishers Weekly

"A good, solid mystery that is satisfying and fun."--The Drood Review of Mystery

"She writes like a dream."--New York Times Book Review

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellant start to new series.. May 12 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Blazing Tree' by Mary Jo Adamson is a work of art. It's a good mystery, and it takes us into what the Shakers were really like. Michael Merrick is an intriguing hero, a former opium addict turned journalist in this 1840s period piece. The Shakers that has comes across in the midst of an arson investigation are good characters. One is a young adult with what we now know as Tourette's, but they didn't know that then. His disorder is well written into the plot. Merrick does get to the bottom of it, but not before nearly getting himself killed in the process. The arsonist's idenity is not too surprising. I'm looking forward to reading her second in the series when I get around to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An arsonist is at work in a Shaker village. July 8 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Though there are fewer than ten Shakers extant today, this communal sect, officially named the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, once numbered some six thousand at their peak around 1830, spread among several villages in the eastern United States. In Mary Jo Adamson's riveting mystery, "The Blazing Tree," a structural fire--the latest and most frightening in a series of unexplained blazes in the Shaker community of Hancock Village, Massachusetts--has resulted in the death of an elderly man. Boston newspaperman Michael Merrick, on orders from his publisher, is propelled into impromptu undercover detective work at the village in the hope of unmasking the arsonist. Merrick's assignment quickly becomes a race against a clever murderer who will not hesitate to kill again. With richly textured prose and striking characterizations, Ms. Adamson takes the reader into the midst of everyday life in an 1840s Shaker village, weaving a compelling and suspenseful tale. Moreover, her comprehensive research brings powerful verisimilitude to the descriptive and narrative elements of the story, and summons a long-lost era back to colorful life. Whether as novel or as mystery, this is a first-class read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Looks like a good start to this mystery series June 12 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the nineteenth century, Jasper Quincey, publisher of the Boston newspaper The Independent, summons his police news reporter Michael Merrick to his Cambridge home. Jasper provides background material about the series of arson and the lifestyle of the Shakers. Next, he assigns Michael the task of investigating the questionable fires that led to the death of an octogenarian Shaker in Western Massachusetts.

Michael heads to the western side of the Commonwealth to make inquiries among the residents of Hancock Shaker Village. Although Michael knows that religion is not his bailiwick, he realizes that somehow he must infiltrate the sect to learn what is going on inside the village because no one will simply cooperate otherwise. Inside, Michael surprises himself by finding the Shakers way of life appealing and interesting. Having lived on the uglier side of Boston, Michael comprehends that even this little Eden has a dangerous snake whose antics are turning more dangerous by the moment. Knowing he has quite a story, Michael only has to live long enough to tell it.

THE BLAZING TREE is an exciting historical mystery that places its emphasis on the depths of history rather than on the who-done-it. The story line is crisp and fast-paced although some subplots never fully tie back to the main tale. Michael is an intriguing character whose years on the streets eating opium have carved edges into his personality. The mystery is fun, but it is the nineteenth century tidbits, not all obvious (for instance Quincey and opium eating), that make Mary Jo Adamson,s a delightful glimpse at a bygone era.

Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written--Buy It Aug. 8 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of the most enjoyable mystery novels I've read in a long time. Emphasis on both "mystery," and "novel." It could go in either genre. On one level, a simple murder mystery set in the timeless world of the Shakers at Hancock Village Massachusetts (which is still there as a living museum, and can be visited--it rightly has earned the name the City of Peace). If you have ever been to Hancock or any other Shaker village, you will love this book. If you have never had that treat, this book will really capture the flavor of the place.
On a second level, the book is a novel, a meditation on the meaning of love.
I can hardly wait for the second book in this series. This is the product of a very talented writer.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mary Jo Adamson's writing is beautiful. She really brings the world of the Shakers alive for her readers. Her research is very thorough and her character development impeccable. I recommend this book!
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