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Seven For A Secret
John the Eunuch series #7

by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer

      Anybody who has been following John's adventures in this unique series will know that he likes to talk to the girl depicted on the mosaic in his study. Trouble is, now the whole of Byzantium also knows it - but who has gossiped about the Lord Chamberlain? Before he gets wind of this indiscretion, he has actually had the opportunity to meet "Zoe" in person, quite by chance. But now she is dead, drowned in a water cistern and covered with red dye. It's time for John to pull on his boots once again and take to the streets to discover whodunit, and why.

This is one of my favorite "histmyst" series for its wonderful delineation of Byzantium during its golden age, its likeable protagonist and tortuous plots. We've all wondered who the mysterious Zoe could have been, and in this book we finally get the chance to find out. You will need to be more on your toes than I was to discover the murderer, and what it is all about in a story with as many twists and turns as the mean streets of Byzantium. This time John and Anatolius do most of their detecting amid the seedy Copper Market, where exiled courtiers eke out a living and dream of better times alongside some colorful actresses, beggars, a stylite and various trades people. I don't know enough about the period to be able to say whether a real Lord Chamberlain could have done this sort of work himself; it seems rather unlikely but while I read it I was so intent on the story I suspended my belief and just enjoyed it.

The Book

Poisoned Pen Press
15 April 2008
1590584899 / 9781590584897
Historical Mystery / 540s, Byzantium
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008