The Eighth Veil: A Jerusalem Mystery

Frederick Ramsay. Poisoned Pen, $14.95 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-0-9677590-5-0
A first-century rabbinic leader, Rabban Gamaliel, serves as sleuth, perhaps a first for a historical, in Ramsey’s superior second Jerusalem mystery (after 2007’s Judas). When a woman is knifed to death in Herod Antipas’s palace, Pontius Pilate taps Gamaliel, “a neutral, objective, third party,” to investigate the crime. The rabbi, who believes himself completely unqualified to carry out Pilate’s mandate, proves surprisingly adept as a detective, relying on a forensic examination of the corpse to provide clues to the killer’s identity. Gamaliel is also a skilled interrogator, unwilling to settle for the obvious culprit, Menahem, the king’s companion, whose knife was found at the crime scene. Ramsay, who wisely relegates the young, controversial Galilean preacher, Yeshua ben Yosef, to the background, convincingly portrays the religious and political schisms of the time. Whether Gamaliel can sustain a series remains to be seen, but for this book at least the author successfully suspends disbelief. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 02/01/2012
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