Deadly Occupation (A Michael Stoddard American Revolution Mystery) (Volume 1) by Suzanne Adair


Reviewed by Teri Davis

Deadly OccupationImagine living in the year 1781 in North Carolina. Our country is just beginning but is still fighting for its independence. For many settlers, they are choosing whether their allegiances are with the British as Loyalists, the colonists as the rebels, or being neutral with no preferences. At the time, no country had ever successfully broken away from a mother country to be independent as a new nation.

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A British officer, Lieutenant Michael Stoddard is part of the Eighty-Second Regiment, currently occupying the small town of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Many of those loyal to the colonists are associated with the Regulators who were protesting The Stamp Act. With the British Invasion of this area, they flee the area along with the horses, carts, and ammunition.

For those who remain must surrender to British officer, Major Craig after their articles of surrender had been rejected. Now all the residents are prisoners of war.

One of their scouts is a free Negro named Teal. He is questioning the safety of the homes in the area, especially the possibility of traps as the troops inspect and move into the town. He reports of a nearby home owned by a loyalist merchant whose home is being attacked by about twenty men on horseback who are setting the out buildings on fire.

Michael is given ten men to assist in saving the Farrell home. Fortunately, their training gives them the advantage even while being outnumbered.
As Major Craig takes over command of the area, he assigns Michael as his lead criminal investigator answering only to him. With this unstable occupation, the Major needs someone he can trust.

Michael is allowed to hire an assistant to help investigate his many new duties. Among the rebel leaders leaving the area, their families still remain. Will their spouses return? Where do the family loyalties lie?

His assignment also includes the creation of a church which does not seem Anglican. Women are allowed positions in this church going against the teachings of the Anglican Church. The Major needs to know what Vicar Spivey if really doing which he expects is taking advantage of the local residents.
Added to that is the disappearance of a gunsmith’s wife, Julia Garrett.
The Major expects these tasks to be completed within the next day or two.

How can an outsider possible accomplish all this within such a short length of time?