It’s the sweltering summer of 1744 and an epidemic disease threatens the town of Preston. Afraid for the life of his baby son Hector, Coroner Cragg retires with his family to a remote village in East Lancashire, where they hope to enjoy and benefit from the healthy and tranquil air. But the Craggs find the rural scene anything but peaceful.
As coroner he is called upon to investigate the horrific death of a local woman, victim to a cruel community punishment and in the process must face, with his friend Dr Luke Fidelis, the village’s simmering hatreds and prejudices. Painstakingly they begin to untangle the various cross-currents of suspicion, rivalry and rural custom, all very different from the familiar attitudes of the town.
When another local woman disappears, events take a disturbing new twist, which leads Cragg as far as the busy and prosperous town of Manchester.
Rough Music is published by Severn House on 28 December 2018 in the U.K. and on 1 March 2019 in the U.S.A.