Ruined Stones

Eric Reed. Poisoned Pen, $15.95 trade paper (234p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0834-8
Set during WWII, this sequel to 2016’s The Guardian Stones from Reed (the joint pseudonym of Eric Mayer and Mary Reed) lacks the interesting characters and plotting that have been consistent hallmarks of their John, the Lord Chamberlain series (Murder in Megara, etc.). Grace Baxter, a village constable’s daughter now serving in the women’s branch of the British Army, has arrived in Newcastle to assist a force that’s shorthanded due to the war. On her first day on the job, Grace looks into the death of an unidentified woman who apparently hit her head against an altar in the ruins of a Roman temple. Grace’s superior officer believes that the victim probably tripped in the dark, but Grace is intrigued that the body appears to have been posed to simulate a swastika. Grace, “a country woman, one filled by her grandmother with folk wisdom,” recognizes the arrangement of the woman’s limbs, the direction reversed from the familiar Nazi design, as a symbol of good fortune. Other authors have done a better job of setting murder mysteries during wartime. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2017
Release date: 07/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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