The Seventh Sacrament

James Bradberry, Author
James Bradberry, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (196p) ISBN 978-0-312-11059-8
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-95636-3
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An old-fashioned mystery in gleaming new dress, this clever debut centers on an architectural competition held in a sumptuous Italian villa and sponsored by Italy's wealthiest man. At stake is a $5 million commission and ownership of a priceless architectural manuscript. Bradberry, an architect, satirizes his profession's star system and ever-changing fashions and keeps readers guessing while the field of six competitors is narrowed by the murders of four of them. Narrator Jamie Ramsgill, a Princeton architecture professor and the competition advisor, is also an apt amateur sleuth. The first victim is an American contestant, a brilliant but depressed drunk; the only clues to his death, which Jamie believes is murder, are a broken loaf of bread and a nearly empty bottle of wine. Next is Briton Colin Garbutt, found hung by the wire from a drafting device in his room, with a confession in his typewriter that his career was based on fraud. Jamie picks up some anomalies in the manner of the deaths and soon links them to the seven sacraments. Ferreting out motivations and unraveling an ingenious twist at the end, Jamie emerges the winner of this taut, intricate tale--and captures the heart of the sponsor's daughter as a bonus. (July)
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