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Praise for the Books of

Agatha Award-winning author

Edith Maxwell

“The historical setting is redolent and delicious, the townspeople engaging, and the plot a proper puzzle, but it’s Rose Carroll—midwife, Quaker, sleuth—who captivates in this irresistible series . . .”

—Catriona McPherson,

Agatha-, Anthony- and Macavity-winning author of the Dandy Gilver series

“Clever and stimulating novel . . . masterfully weaves a complex mystery.”

—Open Book Society

“Riveting historical mystery . . . [a] fascinating look at nineteenth-century American faith, culture, and small-town life.”

—William Martin, New York Times

bestselling author of Cape Cod and The Lincoln Letter

“Intelligent, well-researched story with compelling characters and a fast-moving plot. Excellent!”

—Suspense Magazine

“A series heroine whose struggles with the tenets of her Quaker faith make her strong and appealing . . . . imparts authentic historical detail to depict life in a 19th-century New England factory town.”

—Library Journal

“Intriguing look at life in 19th-century New England, a heroine whose goodness guides all her decisions, and a mystery that surprises.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Title Page


A Changing Light

Edith Maxwell

Beyond the Page Books

are published by

Beyond the Page Publishing


Copyright © 2021 by Edith Maxwell.

Cover design by Dar Albert, Wicked Smart Designs

ISBN: 978-1-950461-99-8

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this book. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented without the express written permission of both the copyright holder and the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.


For reference librarians everywhere. Authors depend on you for history, for deep databases you know how to search, and for an affinity in wanting to know the facts about the past.


Author’s Note

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43



Books by Edith Maxwell

About the Author

Author’s Note

The annual Spring Opening was a very real affair, bringing visitors from all over the world to view Amesbury’s carriages. John Mayer, Executive Director of the Amesbury Carriage Museum, dug up newspaper notices on the Spring Opening for me. I also consulted Amesbury historian Margaret Rice’s Sun on the River: The Story of the Bailey Family Business 1856–1956 for descriptions of the week’s business negotiations and nightly social events. Amesbury librarian Margie Walker has helped me find facts from the past for every book in this series, and I am grateful.

I have invented members of Amesbury’s 1890 Board of Trade and make no claims about the actual board’s involvement in murder, nor about Mr. Lowell’s disinclination to become involved in the issues before the town, as a character claims in the book.

The Montgomery Carriage Company of Ottawa, Canada, came out of my imagination. I wish to cast no aspersions or senility on any actual Ontarian carriage manufacturer of the era.

I consulted about railroad timetables and routes with local historical train expert Peter Bryant, formerly with the Salisbury Point Railroad Association (Peter is also a docent at the John Greenleaf Whitter Home Museum). I also received maps, timetables, and other details of train travel from Richard Nichols, Carl Byron, and Archivist Rick Nowell of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, Inc. I am grateful for the help of experts, and any errors in the book are of my own doing.

Amesbury very nearly became the automobile capital of the United States. My fictional Ned Bailey’s thoughts about starting a motorcar company were not complete fantasy. Some of the first electric cars in the country were made in the town by the real Bailey family from 1907 to 1915. Two still exist—and still run. Also, I imply no aspersions whatsoever on the historical Baileys, who were one of Amesbury’s First Families and whose descendants still live in Amesbury and surrounding towns.

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis by Thomas Goetz is an excellent reference on tuberculosis and the rise of science toward the end of the nineteenth century. I gleaned a number of helpful facts from it for this book, and it’s also great reading. I wrote this book during the Covid-19 pandemic, and I found the parallels between the scourge of TB, with its lack of either a vaccine or a cure, and the current novel coronavirus frankly terrifying.

As I’ve done with each book, I consulted Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book and Marketing Guide, published in 1880, for ideas about food as well as sample menus that might have been served at the Grand Hotel. I also made use of the Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalogue and Buyers’ Guide from 1895, Marc McCutcheon’s Everyday Life in the 1800s, and The Massachusetts Peace Officer: a Manual for Sheriffs, Constables, Police, and Other Civil Officers by Gorham D. Williams, 1891.

I have taken liberties with Friend John’s whereabouts. According to John Greenleaf Whittier: a Biography by Roland H. Woodwell, Whittier spent the entire winter and spring of 1890 with the Cartlands in Danvers, Massachusetts. I brought him back to Amesbury for this book so Rose could take counsel with her wise fFriend. Apologies to those who study his life and to my docent friends at the John Greenleaf Whittier Home Museum in Amesbury. I quote some of the

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