The debut of spunky Laetitia Talbot, who’s digging up the past in Crete.
The opulent Villa Europa, set in the center of Herakleion, Crete’s major city, is home to snarling archeologist Theo Russell; his much younger second wife Phoebe; George, the son from his first marriage who dashes about in a Bugatti but donates the rest of his money to rescue lepers; two student archeology apprentices; handsome rogue William Gunning, a forensic architect; and new arrival Letty Talbot, come for some firsthand experience on a dig. Will she uncover the Tomb of Zeus? Will Theo take credit for it? Will Gunning, who broke her heart back in London, undergo a change of heart? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. But first, present-day (that is, 1928) matters must be attended to: Phoebe’s suicide, George’s near-fatal car crash, two clandestine amours, tomb looting and fake antiquities, which Letty immediately spots. After lots of historical background about the Minoan culture, much dusting of potshards and an invitation to the local doctor to conduct an autopsy that’s 3,000 years past due, Letty concludes her first adventure with, as one might expect, a kiss.
A long-winded opus that doesn’t hold a candle to Cleverly’s Sandilands series (The Bee’s Kiss, 2006, etc.). But if you’ve read all the Amelia Peabody mysteries twice, you may have to settle for this.