Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Sonnet of the Sphinx" by Diana Killian

There's just something very comforting about a tea-cozy mystery, and this series totally fits the bill. Nothing too supernatural here except the possibility of a ghost or two - rather refreshing. And I really like the lead characters, Grace Hollister and Peter Fox.

Grace is still on her extended stay in England's Lake District, having written a book about her adventures with Peter (the subject of the first book in the series, "High Rhymes and Misdemeanors"). She's settled in pretty well, but remains unsure of her relationship with Peter. She helps out in his antiques business, and is generally well-liked by the people in the village. Life is good if a bit quiet.

Ah, but knowing Grace, it's never quiet for long. A foreigner purchases an old farm house, leading to the donation of the house's contents by the estate agent. While searching through said contents, Grace and Peter stumble on a letter that would indicate a possible "lost poem" by none other than Percy Shelley, on of the great Romantic poets. Of course Grace wants to believe that there really is such a poem, and Peter aids her in her quest. Not long after they find the letter, an enemy of Peter's shows up in the shop. Hayri Kayaci worked at the Turkish prison where Peter spent a few years of his lives, and it's obvious he's not popped in for a friendly chat. Shortly thereafter, he's found dead, and - you guessed it - not by natural means. Grace and Peter are pretty much suspects from the get-go, so they set out to clear their names.

Meanwhile, the new owner of the farmhouse has showed up in town, livid that his agent got rid of the contents of the house. He offers to purchase them from Peter for more than their worth, indicating to Grace that they're on the right track about the sonnet; more than likely, it does exist. And it's obvious that she and Peter are not the only ones trying to find it. There are subsequent plot twists as well as more than one attempt on Grace's life. And interestingly enough, there's a new player on the romantic scene; Detective Inspector Drummond seems to be hounding Grace, but it's also apparent that he may also be attracted to her. A nice change, as it gives Peter a bit of a run for his money.

This is the last entry in the Poetic Death mystery series, at least for a while. According to the author, she's enjoyed writing them but wanted to go in a new direction with her next book. I hope that's a good one, too, but I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that she let's us know how Peter and Grace are fairing down the road. They're engaging characters, and I would love to read about them again.

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