In the Shadow of Vesuvius

Tasha Alexander. Minotaur, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-16473-5
In 1902, Lady Emily Hargreaves and her husband, Colin, rent a villa near Pompeii in bestseller Alexander’s uneven 14th series mystery (after 2018’s Uneasy Lies the Crown). Exploring the ancient ruins, Colin and Emily discover a recently strangled corpse amid those felled by the Vesuvius’s 79 CE eruption. Archaeologist Callie Carter appears to have known the victim, American journalist Clarence Walker, better than she admits; Callie’s brother, Benjamin, is inexplicably antagonistic; and Walker’s past in Montana may offer clues as well. Meanwhile, Emily is shaken when a daughter Colin didn’t know he had, Kat von Lange, shows up and moves in with the couple. Kat’s over-the-top manipulations and Colin’s immediate surrender to them feel implausible, and the murder investigation is too diffuse to be suspenseful, but the author does a fine job evoking the setting’s rich history, particularly in the chapters written as the journal entries of Pompeian poet Quinta Flavia Kassandra. Though this is far from Alexander’s strongest historical, lovers of classical culture should be pleased. Agent: Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Assoc. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/09/2019
Release date: 01/07/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-24250-1
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