Antiquities shenanigans bisect Europe.
Prof. Tamar Saticoy has come from Cal State to Turkey to co-direct the excavations at Tepe Hazarfen with Orman Çelibi and Mustafa Yegin from the Department of Antiquities in Ankara. One night, a mosaic tile floor they’ve uncovered is clandestinely rolled up and bundled away. At the same time, in Ephesus, a young man is killed and a golden Kybele statue is taken. Is there a connection? Heading to Basel to see if unscrupulous tomb raiders there will try to sell her the mosaic floor, Tamar is quickly charmed by Gilberto Dela Barcolo, the city’s most prosperous dealer, but warned about him by the mysterious Enzio, who keeps bumping into her in the hotel bar. Meanwhile, more antiquities are stolen, this time from a British Museum officer who’s transporting the Thracian hoard to London from Bulgaria. Alas, several more will die; many of the treasures will turn out to be fakes; and poor Tamar will almost be filleted by a dagger belonging to an Arab sheik in the time of the Crusades. And then this tale of spurious identities finally peters out.
Baron, a former professor of archeology (The Torch of Tangier, 2007, etc.), unfolds her story with all the hectoring zeal of a pedagogue trying to drum history into her slower students’ heads.