Tasha Alexander’s historical mysteries take place early in the 20th century. In this entry, Lady Emily and her husband Colin are visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum where they become entangled in murder and chaos. The book also includes a novel within a novel that tells the story of a (freed) slave, a young woman poet and her fate.
The strengths of this book include the settings and the characters with whom I wanted to spend time. The author has done significant research and her description of the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum are filled with atmosphere, historical terms, and objects. Similarly, the world of the poet, Kassandra, comes vividly to life with its taverns, food stalls and homes both ostentatious and simple.
I enjoyed the relationship of Emily with her husband, Colin, and close friend, a lord. Kassandra, Lepida (her former owner), Lepida’s husband and Melas, a painter are all well drawn. Also, readers of the series will be interested to get to know Kat, but no spoilers here. I found the murder mystery itself to be less compelling and felt that the story could have been edited just a bit.
Nonetheless, if you are curious about archaeology and enjoy historical mysteries, you might want to pick up this latest in the series. I also recommend this author’s earlier title, A Death in St. Petersburg.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for this title in exchange for an honest review.