Tempers discreetly fray and corpses mount around a parchment that just might be the only surviving letter from Jesus Christ.
Even though she has a serious case of Alzheimer’s, the Bergen County police are certain that Kathleen Lyons is the person who shot her beloved husband Jonathan, a retired professor, in their home in Mahwah, N.J. After all, she was clearly in the house with him at the time; there was no sign of forced entry; her fingerprints were on the murder weapon; and she had a beaut of a motive, ever since her discovery that Jonathan hadn’t waited till she was institutionalized and beyond knowing or caring to divorce her and take up with Prof. Lillian Stewart, the colleague he’d come to love. Unbeknownst to Detectives Simon Benet and Rita Rodriguez, there are at least two other motives for killing Jonathan. He’d just sent Lily on her way with regretful firmness, and he’d hinted around that he was holding a letter from Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea stolen from the Vatican Library years ago. So the suspects include not only the newly spurned Lily but the four amateur archeologists who’d joined Jonathan’s last excavations and heard about the letter: biblical scholar Prof. Richard Callahan, irascible Prof. Charles Michaelson, quiet Prof. Albert West and computer-software millionaire Greg Pearson. It’s up to Jonathan’s old friends Alvirah and Willy Meehan (I’ll Walk Alone, 2011, etc.) to help out the Bergen County force before one of this nondescript crew can swoop down on Jonathan’s daughter Mariah, a financial officer who’s this season’s designated victim.
Not much nourishment here for fans of The Da Vinci Code, but nothing to trouble Clark’s gargantuan fan base either, as long as they don’t mind all those felonies, all those criminals and all those coyly conspiratorial phone calls with Mr. Anonymous at the other end.