cover image Ten for Dying: A John, the Lord Chamberlain Mystery

Ten for Dying: A John, the Lord Chamberlain Mystery

Mary Reed and Eric Mayer. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0227-8

Reed and Mayer mix things up a bit with their 10th whodunit set in Constantinople during the reign of Emperor Justinian (after 2012's Nine for the Devil). In the wake of the murder of the emperor's wife, Theodora, which John solved in the last book, the chamberlain has been dismissed from his position, and decides to start a new life in Greece. That decision leaves his friend Felix, a captain of the place guard, to solve a series of crimes. Bizarre circumstances surround the theft of a relic kept in the Church of the Holy Apostles: the thief left behind 30 frogs, sacred to an Egyptian god, and a scarab beetle on top of Theodora's sarcophagus. The case is complicated by witness reports of demons and Felix's discovery of a corpse, under potentially compromising circumstances. The authors offer a lighter tone to go along with their new lead sleuth, although it's unclear who will be featured in the next installment. (Mar.)