Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Death of an Eye
Eye of Isis #1
BY Dana Stabenow

Head of Zeus
5 September 2019 / ISBN 9781788549219
Mystery/Historical / Egypt - Cleopatra

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Cleopatra’s secret spy, known as the Eye, has been murdered. To investigate, she calls upon one of her childhood friends, the trader’s daughter, Tetisheri. Now Sheri is the Eye, and must navigate the murky waters of Alexandrian politics to discover whodunit without becoming a casualty herself.

I have always wanted to read this author’s books, and, being a historical mystery fan, I decided to start here with the first in a possible new series. Ms Stabenow usually writes about present day Alaska, but this book shows that she is also adept at recreating the past. Alexandria, in 47 BC, springs to instant life, and I was instantly rooting for courageous Sheri and wanting to know more about her. Her back-story comes a piece at a time, as does our understanding of life under Rome in Alexandria.

The city is a melting pot of different cultures, but the Romans are in ascendant, and this affects every aspect of life. There is a lot more going on than just one murder, and what starts as a trickle is soon a mighty torrent involving a mysterious group of five soldiers, a sea voyage with pirates, kidnap, and a whole lot more. There is a spot of romance, but it is very much a part of the story rather than anything more major, and the whole is told with the right, light touch that makes this a pleasure to read rather than a penance.

Grim things happen, but this is not a grim tale; life can be bad, but there is much to enjoy too. My only minor gripe it is that most characters are either goodies or baddies with not much in the middle, and we all know that is where the most interesting people are to be found. Iron this out, and this will be one of my favorite historical mystery series currently around. If this is a sample of this author’s talent, I will be eager for more in this series and in search of her back list. Very highly recommended.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2020