An unlikely visitor from the past throws the lives of an aristocratic couple into disarray.
Lady Emily and her husband, sometime spy Colin Hargreaves, have traveled to Greece with their closest friends, Jeremy Sheffield and Margaret Michaels, to stay in the house on Santorini Emily inherited from her first husband, Philip, the Viscount Ashton, who died on safari soon after their marriage. Emily remembers him even less well than his old friend Colin. Before they leave, Emily gets a postcard addressed to Viscountess Ashton and thinks she catches glimpses of Philip on the trip, leaving her uneasy. Emily and Margaret, both interested in Greek and Roman history, are pleased to find an archaeological dig on Santorini. But Emily’s delight turns to discomfort when unexpected guests arrive, a man claiming to be Philip and a colleague badly injured in a fall. Although his physical appearance is changed by the 10 hard years since he allegedly died in 1888, the man seems to know so many intimate details of both Emily’s and Hargreaves’ lives that they’re hard-pressed to deny that he’s Philip. He claims to have been too ill and too poor to return until he found Emily married to his best friend. Philip, who’s decided not to claim his fortune, has been working at his passion, archaeology, and making extra money by selling items of trifling historical significance. Now he says he’s been attacked and threatened by the minions of a man who wants the tiny piece of a helmet he found that may have belonged to Achilles. The unsavory dealer doesn’t believe Philip’s claim that the relic has been stolen from him, and the threat has followed him to Santorini, putting the entire group in danger. As Emily struggles with her guilt, she resolves to find the truth about the helmet and come to terms with her mixed feelings.
Not Alexander’s best mystery, but its continuing focus on the problems of mistaken identity (The Adventuress, 2016, etc.) provides many opportunities for information on Greece’s glorious past along with some difficult choices for her intrepid heroine.