Long used to solving mysteries for an emperor, a newly powerless man must solve one for himself.
John, the former Lord Chamberlain to Emperor Justinian, has been exiled to a small estate he owns in Greece, where he grew up near the town of Megara. His servant, Peter, and Peter’s wife, Hypatia, are attacked on a shopping trip to town. The estate is in complete disarray. And John is unpleasantly surprised by a visit from Theophilus, his hated stepfather. Attempting to maintain some semblance of control, John fires his overseer, Diocles, who has obviously been plundering the estate and is probably involved in a scheme to dig for the treasure that is reputedly buried there. On a trip into Megara, John is warned by Georgios, the City Defender, that it would be prudent to leave the area. When first Theophilus and then Diocles are found stabbed to death, John must investigate before he’s arrested for murder. Fortunately, he gets some support from two boyhood friends, one a worker in the tax office and the other the abbot of the nearby monastery of Saint Stephen. Although John’s wife, Cornelia, is ready to move on, John, who’s solved many mysteries for the emperor in Constantinople (Ten for Dying, 2014, etc.), finds that digging into corruption, past secrets, and misdeeds in a small town is every bit as dangerous as the intrigue of the emperor’s court.
John’s 11th case combines historical detail with a cerebral mystery full of surprises.