Some of these books were published several years ago, but they should not be forgotten
A BITTER CHILL
By Jane Finnis
Pub 2005 by Poisoned Pen Press
338 pages, Hard Cover $24.95
This is Jane Finnis second historical adventure set in the Britannia of Roman times. It is another winner. We are in the first century of modern dating. The location is set near Eboracum, a Roman town that evolved over the years into the city of
The time of the year is December and the Roman citizens are preparing for their winter celebration, called Saturnalia. As anyone who has planned large celebrations knows, one hopes for appropriate weather, decent guests and a minimum of unplanned uproar. As soon as Lucius arrives from the garrison town one frigid night, Aurelia’s flee like geese in the thrall of an autumn day. Lucius arrives at about midnight. In those times wandering about the countryside after dark was often dangerous and was looked on with great suspicion. Lucius bring unsettling news. He is fleeing an irate husband. He was discovered dallying with the wife of an important official stationed in Londinium. Now there are suspicions that the family Marcella is plotting with others to overthrow Caesar.
That there are plotters scattered across
It’s almost all too much for the bright and intrepid Aurelia. But this is after all, a novel and we know Aurelia will solve the mystery. She has too, because the author’s growing audience wants to read more adventures of this charming, intelligent and witty innkeeper.
Jane Finnis has suggested that those who consider history as a dead topic are in error, and here is ample evidence of the charm, the wit and the fascination any reader can find in these novels of ancient Roman times.
BY Mary Anna Evans
Poisoned Pen Press
A thriller with an angst-ridden interesting female protagonist.
The protagonist in this interesting novel, Faye Longchamp, is a mixed-race single female who can usually pass in either camp, yet is clearly uncomfortable in either. Moreover, neither camp is welcoming. Consequently, Faye Longchamp, bright, ambitious, wary of entanglements, generally goes her own way.
She’s technically a squatter, living in the ruins of her ancestral home on a small island on the western coast of
The deaths close down the site and leave Faye without a job and without income. Clever plotting takes the reader inside Faye’s life, inside her family history and through a compelling history lesson. Archeology is far more than the simple antiseptic study of old bones and former generational trash. Author Evans infuses vibrant life to the history of the region and the nation through the circumstances of one family. Her illumination of the region and its special characteristics is excellent. The story lines move with vitality and good pace.
Although there are a few to many coincidences in the plot for some readers, the lively characters, unique and fascinating locale and the competent writing carries us through.
by Laura Lippman
Publisher: Avon Books, Inc.
pub. date: February, 1997
290 pages, paper
This author has become an important voice in the mystery genre. ( I wrote that line ten years ago) Lippman’s observant eye, her skill with the language, and her sense of pace and timing are all on exhibit here. If Tess Monaghan, ex-newspaper reporter, is not the most unusual lead character readers may have encountered, many of the other characters are unusual enough to satisfy our needs. Moreover, as a character that shines and sometimes dominates in these pages, the city of
This excellent first mystery presents us with Tess’ buddy and fellow rower, Darryl Paxton, accused of the murder of a prominent
Lippman writes with economy and verve, and if Monaghan spends a little too much time in internal communication, it’s a small price to pay to be present at the beginning of what will become a strong mystery series.