The Tomb of Zeus, Barbara Cleverly, Delta, $13.00.
Guest reviewer Angel Kovach is a high school teacher in Grass Lake, and a long time customer, book club member & friend. She fell in love with mysteries as a child by reading Nancy Drew.
As a fan of historical mysteries, especially those British, I was excited to see Barbara Cleverly had a new book out in October. That excitement turned to dread when I saw it was to be a new series detective. Authors get bored with their series detectives, but sometimes I wish they would just take a break from writing before they foist a new character on readers. Thank god I have no access to Cleverly because in this case, I'd be pure dead wrong.
The Tomb of Zeus introduces readers to Laetitia Talbot. She, like Cleverly's series character Joe Sandilands, inhabits those halcyon days between the two world wars. "Letty" is a headstrong and aspiring archeologist at odds with her controlling English family. She's similar to Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs without the angst. Longing for adventure, she gets her chance when she's sent on an archeological dig. She quickly stumbles onto intrigue and murder at the home of a famed archeologist on the exotic isle of Crete. As in all Cleverly books, she makes the readers want to be in that place. Following Letty allows the reader to revel in that locale, unlike Joe Sandilands who treats his incredible setting (India) with nonchalance as he continually longs for England. Also, while the Sandilands series is great, it is true that his aloofness holds the other characters at arm's length, while Letty's vivacious nature allows her to become a stakeholder in the mystery she ultimately solves. I sincerely hope Cleverly gives Letty the chance to "unearth" corpses and clues in exotic locales for many books to come. On that note, maybe Joe Sandilands should get the hell out of London and back to India where he belongs.
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