Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bright Hair About the Bone-Barbara Cleverly

Bright Hair About the Bone
Barbara Cleverly
Delta, Nov 2008, $13.00
ISBN: 9780385339896

In 1926 in the village of Fontigny-Saint-Reine, Burgundy, someone stabs Daniel Thorndon while he was researching artifacts at the private library of Edmond d'Aubec. Before Thorndon dies he sends postcard to his goddaughter Leticia “Letty": Talbot; the message is in a code they made up years ago when she was a child.

A stunned Letty, accompanied by Army chaplain William Gunning, travels to France to learn who killed her godfather and why. To achieve her objective, Letty goes undercover obtaining work with the archeological dig led by Dr. Charles Paradee. However, instead of antiquity or even Victorian, they find the modern day corpse of a stable boy who worked at d'Aubec’s nearby chateau. Letty persuades Edmond to allow her to look at Daniel’s work on ancient religious manuscripts, which brings her to the attention of a killer.

With Joe Sandilands taking a well deserved breather (see RAGTIME IN SIMLA), independent Letty Talbot makes her second star appearance (see THE TOMB OF ZEUS) in a terific historical whodunit. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that a determined Letty decides to investigate the murder of her godfather. Although the religious angle has been overdone a zillion times, fans will toast with fine French wine this fun 1920s amateur sleuth reminiscent of Carola Dunn’s married Daisy Dalrymple.
Harriet Klausner