The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry is a cleverly written novel of intellect and historically interest. It is written in a Charles Dickens-style…rich in details and flourishing vocabulary. The story is about a woman, Cora, whose husband has died. In some circumstances, this would make for a sad story, but Cora’s husband was not kind and loving. Cora, who is a woman not of her time, is interested in science and nature and travel. She now has her chance to focus on her interests without her horrible husband around. She has an unusual child, a boy of 11 , and a companion whose name is Martha. The three of them embark on a journey which leads them to the coast of Essex where a rumor of a serpent resides. A young man is found dead, and people believe it to be this serpent, but Cora who does not believe in myths and fantasy is determined to discover the truth behind the murder. Think of her as Scully (X-files)….the truth is out there, and she does not believe in the supernatural.