Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Release Date: February 2003
ISBN: 1590580311
Format Reviewed: Advance Review Copy
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Genre: Mystery / Historical
Reviewer: Nancy Mehl
Reviewer Notes:

Four for a Boy
By Mary Reed and Eric Meyer 

     After three previous novels, authors Mary Reed and Eric Meyer take us back in time to meet their "ancient detective," John the Eunuch, before he becomes Lord Chamberlain to the Emperor Justinian.

     It is AD 525 and John is commissioned, along with Felix, an excubitor, to investigate the murder of Hypatius, a local philanthropist, whose gift of a statue of Christ has created some controversy in Constantinople. Emperor Justin is still on the throne, although his health is flagging and it is rumored that he holds regular conversations with his dead wife. His nephew, Justinian, is next in line, but his infamous concubine, Theodora, seems to be the one who seeks control of the empire. As John and Felix search for the truth behind the death of the old man, Hypatius, their travels take them into the street battles of the "Blues" and the "Greens" - political factions that use violence as an answer to their differences. There is also the City Prefect, nicknamed "The Gourd," who appears to have his own agenda. Could the murder be linked to the political climate - or to someone else who has a personal reason to want Hypatius dead? As John and Felix attempt to find the truth hidden beneath the lies and secret intentions of the populace, their animosity towards each other begins to turn into a bond that will hold them together in the future - as friends.

     Reed and Meyer have, once again, given us an engrossing story and a cleverly-concealed mystery. Having read all three of the other John the Eunuch books, it was a treat to go back and learn more about John. He is a many-layered character and readers of this series sense that there is still much more to discover.

The incredible research and flawless writing of Reed and Meyer makes this series one of the best historical fiction offerings available. It quenches the desire of those who love the historical aspect, while satisfying the mystery buff as well.

Four for a Boy is a superb addition to the John the Eunuch Series. I hope Reed and Meyer can count high. Four is not enough. Keep 'em coming!

Highly Recommended

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