cover image Sonnet of the Sphinx

Sonnet of the Sphinx

Diana Killian, . . Pocket, $6.99 (325pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-6680-6

Following High Rhymes and Misdemeanors , this pleasant if tepid installment in the Poetic Death saga starring unlikely lovers Grace Hollister, a literature teacher, and former jewel thief Peter Fox, offers generous portions of murder and mayhem without losing the composure of a traditional cozy. On the same day that Grace finds a clue to a missing work by the famed Romantic poet Shelley, Peter, now an antiques dealer, is visited by blackmailer Hayri Kayaci, a man who helped Peter escape from a Turkish prison before he went straight. Kayaci is soon murdered, as is the town's mysterious new librarian. Detective Inspector Drummond, a recent transfer to remote Innisdale, is convinced that Grace is guilty despite several attempts on her life. Undeterred, Grace continues to probe historical records, old rumors and odd townspeople in search of the Shelley sonnet. Though involving, the murder mystery generates only mild suspense, as villain and victims are minimally developed. Instead, it is the appealing summertime setting of Britain's Lake District, the enigmatic relationship between Grace and Peter and the possibility of a second suitor that give the book its charm. (Apr.)