Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Sonnet of the Sphinx by Diana Killian

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Sonnet of the Sphinx by Diana Killian. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Sonnet of the Sphinx by Diana Killian

Sonnet of the Sphinx by Diana Killian
A Poetic Death Mystery with Grace Hollister
Pocket Books (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7434-6680-2 (0743466802)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7434-6680-6 (9780743466806)
Publication Date: March 2006
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): For one of Innisdale's residents, a priceless sonnet means poetic license to kill ...

Grace Hollister's stay in England's picturesque Lake District has proven doubly fruitful -- the American literary scholar just sold her first book, and her romance with charming antiques dealer and ex-jewel thief Peter Fox has begun a new chapter. Sorting through a hoard of papers found in an old farmhouse, Grace and Peter discover an old letter that refers to a lost Shelley sonnet, "Sate the Sphinx." Before Grace can start tracking down this poetic treasure, though, Peter's shady past rears its head -- a particularly ugly head, belonging to a menacing Turk who's eager to see Peter dead.

But there's plenty more trouble in store. Suddenly Grace and Peter are suspects in a murder investigation, and someone has tried his level best to kill her -- not once, but twice. The hieroglyphics are on the wall: unless Grace can unravel an inscrutable riddle and unearth the villain amid a cache of likely suspects, her story might be at an end.

Review: Diana Killian continues Grace Hollister's scholarly exploits in England's Lake District in the highly entertaining Sonnet of the Sphinx, the third book in the Poetic Death mystery series.
The possibility of recovering a lost Shelley sonnet is too compelling for Grace even after she's suspected of murder, is run off the road and nearly drowns, and barely escapes from her home as it burns to the ground. Though there are a couple of murders along the way, the real mystery of Sonnet of the Sphinx remains the quest itself. Does the sonnet exist, and if so, where is it, and is it authentic? Grace's research and persistence pay off when she ultimately ascertains the answers to these questions.

The back story in Sonnet of the Sphinx is fascinating and illustrates Killian's notable ability to interleave literary fact into a novel of fiction.

The ending comes as something of a surprise though in retrospect it shouldn't have been since Killian cleverly interjects telling clues throughout.

The epilogue serves as a cliffhanger of sorts. Will there be a fourth Poetic Death mystery? If so, will it take place in Cumbria? And where is Grace's increasingly complex relationship with the mysterious Peter Fox heading? Another literary adventure with Grace Hollister would certainly help resolve these undecided issues.

Special thanks to Diana Killian for providing a copy of Sonnet of the Sphinx for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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