In Burgundy, France, in 1926, a famed archaeologist dies a terrible death in a country not his own.…Thus begins CWA Historical Dagger Award winner Barbara Cleverly’s dazzling new mystery novel. And soon aspiring archaeologist Laetitia Talbot will find herself embroiled in a murderous conspiracy centuries in the making.
Letty’s joy at snaring a place in the excavation of an ancient church in Burgundy is dimmed by the tragedy of her godfather Daniel’s violent death. But when Letty receives a posthumous encoded message, she begins to believe that Daniel’s death was not a random act. Her investigation into Daniel’s murder sends her on a journey into a country’s remote history…into the orbit of a privileged French family harboring its own damning secret…into ancient Celtic mysteries and one sacred truth kept through the ages. It is an explosive revelation that could rock modern Christianity—and force a killer out of the shadows as a country devastated by one war lays the groundwork for another.…
Dagger Award winner Cleverly's third Laetitia Talbot mystery falls short of the high standard set by the first in this historical series, The Tomb of Zeus (2007). Talbot, a fiercely independent amateur sleuth in the spirit of Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher, is plunged into international intrigue after her godfather, Daniel Thorndon, is stabbed to death in Burgundy in 1926. Before dying, Thorndon managed to mail a coded postcard to Talbot, using a cipher the two had shared when she was much younger. Aided by an improbable bodyguard, a military chaplain who served in WWI, Talbot journeys to France, where she uses her archeological skills to link up with a dig that may enable her to solve the mystery of Thorndon's death. Stock characters abound, like an enigmatic but handsome French nobleman, rather than the original creations who populate Cleverly's Joe Sandilands historical series (Ragtime in Simla, etc.).