Mary Reed & Eric Mayer
Series: John the Lord Chamberlain Mysteries
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (October 6, 2015)
Book Blurb – John, former Lord Chamberlain to Emperor Justinian, has been exiled from Constantinople to an estate in Greece, not far from where he grew up. The residents of nearby Megara make it plain John and his family are unwelcome intruders. Before long, John is accused of blasphemy and murder. Now a powerless outsider, he’s on his own, investigating while being hampered by the ruthless and antagonistic City Defender who serves Megara as both law enforcer and judge. Plus there’s that corrupt estate overseer, a shady pig farmer, a servant’s unwelcome suitor, a wealthy merchant who spends part of his time as a cave-dwelling hermit, and the criminals and cutthroats populating such a seedy port as Megara.
Review – This was my first time to read a story set in the Byzantine era, and I enjoyed the trip through history via this well-written mystery. The descriptions were nicely done, and I really got a sense of the place and the the way people lived at that time.
The characters were also nicely drawn and very real people. I enjoyed the closeness that John and Cornelia have and the way that came across in their banter and their affection for each other. I also really liked Peter and Hypatia, long-time servants to John and Cornelia.
Peter is of advanced age, and Hypatia is much younger, and the difficulties of their relationship take up most of the subplot of the story. At first I wondered why considerable time was given to them, but that became clear as the story started to wrap up. And I did love Peter. He tried so hard to rise above the limitations of his age and was willing to go to the gallows for Hypatia.
The mystery was played out nicely, with suspicion cast on a number of people, and that push and pull between suspects handled just right. I was kept guessing until close to the end.
The authors also did an excellent job of giving bits of past history of the characters, so the reader had a sense of what came before this story opened. That is always a challenge with a series – to give what a reader needs but not too much – and the authors handled that well.
All in all, this was an enjoyable read.
Please do come back on Wednesday, when Mary Reed will be my guest talking about old friends and chance meetings.
BUY LINKS: Poisoned pen press http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/murder-megara/