The San Xavier murder scandal, 1752-1760 : law and sin in a Texas mission
The San Xavier Murder Scandal, 1752-1760, begins as a band of conspirators creep toward the dining quarters of the Candelaria mission along the San Xavier River in central Texas. The author uses eight years of investigation to recreate a narrative of the murder of a missionary father and a Spanish refugee by these conspirators. The witness testimonies behind the investigations form the dialogue that moves forward this story of adultery, conspiracy, sex, lies, murder, and manipulation on the Spanish frontier. By following the handful of investigations that surrounded the case, the author also examines the Spanish colonial legal system, its emphasis on procedure, and the opportunity for influential actors to pressure the final finding of "who did it" as they hope to maintain authority and power on the peripheries of the Spanish empire.