The Crypt Thief
A Hugo Marston Mystery by Mark Pryor
Review: When the son of a US Senator is murdered in a Paris cemetery, the dead man's father demands that the killer be brought to justice as quickly as possible, even if the most likely suspect in the case almost certainly had nothing to do with the crime, in The Crypt Thief, the second mystery in this series by Mark Pryor.
As head of security to the US Ambassador to France, Hugo Marston is assigned to help coordinate the efforts of both the US and French authorities. Maxwell Holmes had been visiting the grave of Jim Morrison in Père Lachaise Cemetery — a popular tourist attraction in the city — with a woman that is later identified to be of Pakistani origin, though she was traveling on a forged passport. Even though she was murdered as well, her identity is enough for Senator Norris Holmes to declare that the murder of his son is an attack on the US and that all resources be dedicated to finding the terrorist responsible. Hugo isn't so sure; indeed, he believes the murder to be incidental to the real reason the killer was in the cemetery, that is, to steal some — but not all — of the bones of Jane Avril, a dancer with the Moulon Rouge, whose grave was desecrated on the same night. Hugo persuades the Senator to delay an announcement proclaiming a terrorist attack on the US, creating what Hugo is sure will be an international incident with dire consequences, giving him just 24 hours to find the killer.
The premise for the murder mystery plot of what could probably be considered a police procedural is quite creative, providing a credible environment of misdirection for the authorities, if not the reader, who already knows the identity of the killer from the very beginning of the book. The motive behind the titular character's theft of bones becomes clear quite early on — a few of the minor details aren't revealed until the end, however — thus the real excitement here is how Hugo will manage to trap the killer before the Senator prematurely sets into motion a sequence of events that will be hard, if not impossible, to stop once started … an interesting twist on what would otherwise be a routine story. That Hugo is able to keep attention focused on the matter at hand and, more importantly, keep his wits about him while everyone else is anxious to pursue what he knows to be the wrong path, is really the hallmark of The Crypt Thief. The narrative is a little uneven in places, and probably too much time is spent from the perspective of the killer, but that is a minor quibble in this exciting, fast-paced crime story.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided an ARC of The Crypt Thief for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Crypt Thief: Paris, France, Morocco, Czech Republic
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The Crypt Thief by Mark Pryor — A Hugo Marston Mystery
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 2013
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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