Seven for a Secret
Review: John, Lord Chamberlain to Emperor Justinian, investigates the murder of a women in 6th century Constantinople in Seven for a Secret, the seventh mystery in this historical series by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer.
In a typical day, John retires to his office following his consultations with the emperor. There he reflects on current events, often looking out on a mosaic wall that contains the likeness of a young woman who seems to be looking at him, asking him to confide in her. One evening while strolling through the streets near the Great Palace, a woman confronts him, introducing herself as Zoe, the model for the mosaic, and asking that he meet her the next evening. Not sure why, he agrees, and then at the appointed time and place he discovers her murdered, strangled, her face painted red. As he searches for her killer through the market, he's followed. Who was this woman? Why was she murdered? He senses he's being drawn into a situation that may be greater in scope than he initially imagined, and that his life may be in danger.
The books in this series are inspired by actual events attributed to Procopius, secretary and advisor to General Belisarius, during the reign of Emperor Justinian I (c. 505-565). This lends an air of authenticity to the story that enhances its appeal as a historical mystery, though the authors clearly draw parallels between the 6th century and today. The city and its citizens are well drawn and provide a good backdrop to John's investigation. The plot itself unfolds at a measured pace allowing the reader to be as puzzled as John as to what may be happening around him. With a few twists in the story and the various plot threads neatly wrapped up in the end, Seven for a Secret should satisfy not only fans of historical mysteries but also those seeking an interesting story in an unusual setting.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Seven for a Secret.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Seven for a Secret for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Seven for a Secret: Turkey
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Seven for a Secret by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer — A John the Eunuch Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: April 2008
List Price: $24.95