In Sykes’s superior third Somershill Manor novel (after 2016’s The Butcher Bird), Oswald de Lacy, Lord Somershill, and his mother embark on a journey to the Holy Land in 1357, but a war between Hungary and the Venetian Republic strands them for months in Venice, where they find a temporary home with an old family friend, the Englishman John Bearpark. Unfortunately, Oswald’s presence in the city during the conflict arouses the suspicions of the authorities. His situation becomes even more perilous after a member of John’s household is murdered, his face savagely butchered. Oswald’s mother volunteers that he’s had success in the past solving murders, and his host asks him to find the killer. Oswald, who has lost a lot of money gambling, agrees to sleuth for a fee large enough to cover his debt. Sykes’s gamble in putting Oswald in unfamiliar terrain pays off, as she again blends a detailed immersion in the time period with a clever mystery plot line. Agent: Gordon Wise, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (July)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2017 Release date: 07/04/2017 Genre: Fiction
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