It is deep in the night October 5, 1897 when Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman is awoken by someone throwing small rocks at his bedroom window. Doctor Mariner has sent a young boy, Simon Hinkle, over to wake the sheriff. The good doctor sent for the sheriff because he is treating a man that has been stabbed. Local resident Ollie Cramer found the man stabbed out on the road by the new bridge on the south side of town. A man that the doctor and almost no one else in the small town of Arahpot, Pennsylvania seems to know.
Not only does the sheriff know the name the man of the man, he had seen him earlier with Valentine Deibert. Both men seemed to know each other and had words with Valentine Deibert looking absolutely terrified at the end of their meeting. When Sheriff Tilghman asked him about it, Valentine Deibert totally denied everything and claimed to not know the man.
The same thing the man had claimed when Sheriff Tilghman tracked him down at Buchner’s livery. The man told the sheriff he didn’t know Valentine Deibert and was just passing through town. Sheriff Tilghman didn’t believe him then, but couldn’t really do anything about it. Now that the man, who called himself Conrad Runkle, is a victim of a criminal assault Sheriff Tilghman can investigate and ask questions. Since Mr. Runkle can’t answer any questions as he lost a lot of a blood and is unconscious, Sheriff Tilghman will start with Valentine Deibert and his family.
While Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman has lots of questions, he receives very few answers in this complex mystery. His situation with the Runkle case is almost as confusing and complicated as is the target of his romantic intentions, Lydia. A story willed woman who seems to welcome his romantic interest, frequently has him over to meals and clearly enjoys his company, but for unknown reasons of her own continues to turn down his marriage proposals. A mystery of its own that has confounded the good sheriff for some time. One that will have to take a backseat to solving what happened to Conrad Runkle.
This is an engrossing and complex mystery that quickly pulls readers into the world of Sheriff Tilghman. A world populated by fully developed characters in all walks of life that give rise to side stories and details. A world that is slowly changing before readers eyes as these are the warning days of the telegraph, gas lights, etc. A world that is full of history and mystery as well as the occasional funny moment.
Fallen From Grace by R. R. Lindermuth is a complex mystery full of twists and turns. Authentic to its time, the read from start to finish has a deeply western frontier type feel to it though the setting is Pennsylvania. The result is a very good read and one that works on all levels.
FALLEN FROM GRACE
J. R. Lindermuth
Wild Oak Westerns (Oak Tree Press)
Paperback (also available as e-book)
Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2012