A second adventure for London’s Dido Hoare, divorced mother of three-year-old Ben; daughter of testy, ailing Barnabas; and owner of an antiquarian bookstore, with living quarters above (Death’s Autograph, 1997). All seems peaceful, with the book business edging into prosperity, when elderly Tom Ashe, an occasional customer, collapses on Dido’s doorstep. She gets him to hospital, which he quickly leaves against doctor’s orders. Soon after, he calls at the bookstore on a day when Barnabas is helping out. Ashe remembers Barnabas from the war 50 years ago, when they both served in Signal Intelligence. He has brought Dido an odd-looking object from the Middle East to thank her, but the next morning he’s found dead, with a card in his pocket asking that Dido be informed —in case of trouble.— The autopsy reveals murder, and Scotland Yard is taking an interest. Dido follows suit, especially after finding she has been named executor for Ashe’s surprisingly large estate. Her search of his pathetic living space is fruitless, but a visit to his widow brings up the names of Ashe’s army buddies Samuel Butler and Peter Mellor. All had returned to Intelligence work after the war, but it begins to look as though time spent in Egypt is at the core of Ashe’s killing and a second murder in its wake—with a different kind of treasure at stake. Carefully plotted, with plenty of tense moments; a warmly likable heroine; a fresh, unfancy narrative style, and, for lovers of antiquities, some extra cachet.