Disturbing the Dead

The ethics of unwrapping a mummy quickly become a secondary concern to murder for detective Mallory Atkinson and Dr. Duncan Gray in Disturbing the Dead, the atmospheric and intricately plotted third novel in the Rip Through Time series by Kelley Armstrong (A Stranger in Town, The Boy Who Cried Bear).

Mallory is settling into Victorian-era Scotland, where she was mysteriously transported back 150 years into the body of Catriona Mitchell, housemaid to Duncan and his widowed sister Ilsa. Mallory worries about her family in the 21st century, but she has become attached to her employers. They're aware that she's a homicide detective from the future, and she has begun to assist Duncan when his job as an undertaker leads him to consult with the police as a medical examiner. When they're invited to attend the unwrapping of a mummy, the two are asked to perform the honors in the absence of the host--but the corpse inside is fresher than they expected.

Armstrong has created a detailed and approachable historical series with a time-travel twist. Mallory's world is full of characters that are less commonly centered in 19th-century-set fiction, including the biracial Duncan, the chemist Ilsa, and the streetwise Jack, whose true gender is known only to a trusted few. The first hints of modern forensic science are also appearing, though they've yet to be widely accepted, making the period fertile for detective fiction. Readers will be pleased at what developments on the time-travel front suggest for the future of the series. --Kristen Allen-Vogel, information services librarian at Dayton Metro Library

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