A Sacrificial Matter
A naked man in a graveyard… Detectives Amos and Sarah Darcy have dealt with quite a few unusual mysteries, but who cut down the naked man in the graveyard with a broadsword at midnight? When Sheriff Sam Lindsey calls on them to help solve the murder, Sarah risks her life to go undercover into a world of spiritualism and crime to find the murderer and the motive.
Amos pored over the book on pagan rites and rituals until he started nodding off. Nat was happily drooling over a hard biscuit in his playpen. Suddenly, something he was reading caught Amos’ eye. It was about the rite of midsummer on the solstice. He checked the calendar on the wall. That was the night of the murder. He had just started reading more of that information when Sarah came back.
“I found something.” He rose and gave her a kiss. “How did you do?”
Sarah picked up Nat, then seated herself in an office chair and started feeding him. She told Amos about Hiram Bates and his invitation to the Institute. “What did you find?”
“This is about the pagan rite of midsummer that takes place on the solstice. There is a ritual that sacrifices the oak god to make way for the holly god that will rule until the winter solstice. It says here that in ancient times, a member was chosen for the actual sacrifice which now has become symbolic.” He snorted. “Symbolic, in a pig’s eye.”
Sarah thought for a moment. “There was an oak wreath near the body.” She paused. “Would that make the whole group guilty of murder, or just the one who struck him down?”
“Good question. Hopefully, you can find your way into this group. Bates was impressed with you, eh?”
“Mary secretly told me when he was coming. I just did some wonderful guessing. Kata let me keep the wig for now, so I can keep up the disguise. I think I’ll go to the Institute on Monday.”
Sarah started gathering things together so they could close the office. Amos followed suit and tucked the volume under his arm. Deep down, he knew Sarah had to do this to get information, but he couldn’t shake the dread he felt for her. These people had killed before.