1893. A deputy and a private detective in Portland, Maine, investigate a murder with some very unusual features indeed.
When the burnt body of a thief whose burial Deputy Archie Lean witnessed turns up in an empty house surrounded by occult symbols, Lean immediately calls on Perceval Grey for assistance. Grey is a half Abenaki Indian raised by his wealthy white grandfather. Well-educated and well-off, he has a passion for criminology. Grey has been hired by the dying Horace Webster to find his missing granddaughter and recover an heirloom stolen from his lawyer’s office, a stone covered with mysterious runes that was left to his other granddaughter. The symbols, which resemble those found with the body, have been ascribed to both early Viking explorers and alchemists seeking to turn lead into gold. Grey is not the only one looking for the stone. Also in the hunt are Webster’s grandsons, a white man raised as an Indian who thinks the stone is sacred, and Dr. Jotham Marsh, with whom Grey tangled in a prior case (The Truth of All Things, 2012). Grey and Lean soon realize that the present cases are intertwined and that Marsh may not be the only connection to the earlier crime that nearly killed them both. His blood up, Grey travels from the wilds of Maine to the libraries of Boston looking for clues that will reveal the truth.
Erudite, mysterious and exciting, with a brooding, brilliant Sherlock-ian detective. The denouement is just as surprising as in Grey’s first case.