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The Seventh Sinner (Jacqueline Kirby #1)

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,109 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
At first, Jean Suttman thought she had died and gone to Heaven when she was granted the opportunity to study in Rome. But the body that's lying in the ancient subterranean Temple of Mithra—the murdered corpse of a repulsive and disliked fellow student—isn't her idea of heavenly. Now she is truly frightened, not just because small "accidents" seem to be occurring around her ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by Avon (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Barbara ★
I absolutely love Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series so I thought I'd give her earlier work a try what a mistake. There really wasn't a likable character among the bunch. Nope not even the main character, Jacqueline Kirby. Jacqueline is a librarian who sort of horns in on a group of college students working on projects to maintain their grants. The seven semi-friends meet every morning at the local cafe for coffee and feel compelled to include a disagreeable fellow who refuses to get lost. ...more
Nov 15, 2008 Eric_W rated it really liked it
For some bizarre reason, I have ignored the many books of Elizabeth Peters despite consistently favorable reader reviews. Stupid move, because I really enjoyed this one, written several years ago and reissued. I listened to it on my Audible player while traveling, and it was a very enjoyable 6 hours. Apparently, Peters has become known for her Amelia Peabody series, Amelia being known for an acerbic wit and getting herself into and out of difficulties. Jacqueline Kirby must be a forerunner of Pe ...more
Carolyn F.
Audiobook. I have the cassettes, not the CDs.

I can't believe I'm categorizing this as a period piece since I was alive then but it is written in the 1970s and so does have dialogue from that time period, "Right on" and calling cops the "Fuzz". As I was alive during that time period, I can safely say no one in my impoverished, crime riddled neighborhood in the Bay Area of California called the police the "Fuzz". So, I'm thinking at the time she wrote this, Elizabeth Peters wanted to appear up to
Morgan Dhu
Jun 17, 2016 Morgan Dhu rated it liked it
Elizabeth Peters's novel The Murders of Richard III impressed me as being just the thing for reading when in need of light entertainment and amusement. So I tried another book in the same series, The Seventh Sinner, to see if the impression held. And it did.

Featuring librarian-sleuth Jacqueline Kirby again, this novel is set in Rome, among a small group of young research fellows and other advanced foreign students at an international institute for the study of art and architecture. Kirby herself
Mar 19, 2011 Robin rated it it was ok
The plot and a couple of the characters stood out as real people but Jacqueline Kirby, this series' sleuth was not one of them. I was most of the time repelled by her. She's a little like the Wizard of Oz bringing about a final resolution to problems, and occasionally being maternally protective without an iota of grace, but we never get a peak behind the curtain. We learn she is free of obligations and her apparent goal is to fully indulge her freedom in any way that entertains her, and with a ...more
Lynne Tull
Nov 04, 2012 Lynne Tull rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is the first book of the Jacqueline Kirby series although not shown as such above...

I think I have found my next mystery writer. Thanks to a GR friend for recommending Elizabeth Peters. I am not sure why this mystery is classified as fiction. The book could be non-fiction with the amount of ancient Roman history that Ms. Peters wove around her mystery. The mystery was almost secondary, but she presented it in such a way that I didn't mind at all. Jacqueline Kirby is a librarian and is the d
Aug 29, 2012 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Jaqueline Kirby is introduced in this novel and she is somewhat of a cipher. She is kept in the background and all the other characters are better drawn.
This is one the first of Peters published books in the mystery genre and it was a little un even.

But I do like the location ,the history and the interesting trips into catacombs, old churches as a search for a murderer spreads out . A very unlikeable character is murdered leaving a written clue of seven in the dust beside his body. We get to l
Apr 11, 2009 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable read, although I didn't like it as much as the first Elizabeth Peters mystery I read a week or so ago, The Murders of Richard III. I'm glad I read that first, as my impression of the author was initially better than it would have been if I'd read this one first.

I'm excited to have found a new mystery author with a plethora of books for me to dip into.

On a random note: I read of a 119 pound girl being described in this book as "chubby," although the extra weight was distribu
Apr 30, 2010 Sonya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was not as good as Peter's Amelia Peabody stories. One of the main characters, Jacqueline, was strange and the narrator was not the best choice for the story. However, the setting of ancient Rome gave it the historical/archaeological feel that Peters tends to have in her stories. Also, the idea of the main characters as modern scholars studying various aspects of the ancient city was interesting, but I felt that the listener/reader would have understood the ending of the story better if ...more
Apr 20, 2016 Andrea rated it liked it
For some reason, even though I have read the rest of Elizabeth Peter’s books featuring Jacqueline Kirby – and absolutely loved them – I have only now gotten around to reading the first. This might have been a good thing, though, I discovered, because I didn’t like it nearly as much as the later ones.

Jacqueline is Peters’s middle-aged librarian character, whose defining characteristics are a keen mind, abundant auburn hair, great legs, and the tendency to carry a handbag around that’s the size of
Amy A
Mar 24, 2016 Amy A rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Compared to Elizabeth Peters other two series / heroines, this one was so difficult to get into. I'm pretty sure one of the main factors was listening to the audio, the narrator wasn't consistent with the voices used and I found it easy to confuse which character was speaking at which time.
I also didn't really like any of the characters. None of them had really any redeeming qualities so it made it difficult to really care what happened to any of them.
I also found it odd that the story was told
Sep 21, 2013 April rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I loved the scholarly atmosphere of this one. I was a bit disappointed to discover that I must have read this once way back when - I didn't even remember whodunit (though I put the clues together much quicker than usual, presumably because I unconsciously remember who the perpetrator was) but I did remember the seven students and their gathering. Regardless, it was a fun and quick little mystery.
Jun 15, 2014 Hope rated it it was ok
Weird 70s-era mystery from Elizabeth Peters (author of the Amelia Peabody books) centering on seven young graduate fellows in Rome. Peters' amateur detective, fortyish librarian Jacqueline Kirby, stumbles onto the group and is coincidentally there when one of them--the fellow no one liked--is found horrifically injured in a catacombs. Was it suicide or murder?

The premise sounds interesting, but the characters are all unlikeable in various ways--jealous, snipey, rude, etc.--that it becomes really
Aug 18, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Yes, another Elizabeth Peter's series. This one is the first in the Jacqueline Kirby mystery series. Jacqueline is a querky American librarian who falls into hillarious mysteries. How could you not adore her adventures???
Highly unlikable characters but stopped reading when I read " even Jacqueline wasn't old enough to really believe in the restorative properties of a nice hot cup of tea". Blasphemy!
Mar 21, 2014 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Ah, Elizabeth Peters {Barbara Mertz}, how I miss thee. So much so, I've gone back to read some of your earlier work that I've missed until now. I haven't read your Jacqueline Kirby series yet (even though I've read all the Amelia Peabody and most of the Vicky Bliss books), so I'm working on that series now.

It was fun, slightly dated now (published in 1972) and has the delightfully expansive cast of characters you handle with aplomb.

I miss your writing. I miss eagerly ordering your latest work a
Stephanie Fosnight regester
This is a fun read, especially when you realize it was originally published in 1972. It's quite dated but that's one of the reasons it's so fun-
I certainly felt transported to the time of "far out" and "distrust authority" and tie-dyed t-shirts. The year and setting also lends itself to some rather interesting philosophical discussions among other the characters as to the nature of identity and changing roles of tradition and religion in society, which added depth to a somewhat uneventful myster
Lady Knight
Yet again, and rather surprisingly, Elizabeth Peters has disappointed me. Now, I will admit that I did listen to this as an audiobook and so some of my dislike may be attributed to my utter distain for the narrator (the name is NOT pronouned Jack-Qwill-In! And how on earth do you substitute an upper-crust British accent for one that changes every line. It starts out as more of an Irish brogue, then heads into Cockney territory and at one point it sounded distinctly Austrailian!), but everything ...more
Aug 30, 2008 Jeff rated it really liked it
Can I just say that I have read a LOT of Elizabeth Peters books and I have loved every one of them. I think that the part I like the most about her books are her characters. The main characters are all eccentric academic types that happen to solve mysteries for a hobby. The women are all strong willed, intelligent, and hopelessly fearless. At least they never allow their fear to rule them. The interaction of the characters is always entertaining and you really get into the their dialog. I must w ...more
Nancy Bennett
May 08, 2013 Nancy Bennett rated it it was ok
A little background:
1. I absolutely love the Amelia Peabody series written by Elizabeth Peters. I have read the entire series, plus the extra book on Egypt. Just LOVE the series.
2. Though middle-aged, I just became a librarian 3 years ago.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know where I am coming from. I was so excited when I stumbled upon the Jacqueline Kirby series ( it's not new, because first book was published in 1972.). A book about a librarian sleuth written by an author I th
Catherine Thompson
Oct 25, 2012 Catherine Thompson rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, mystery
Jacqueline Kirby meets Jean and Michael at the university library in Rome. Jean and Michael are students studying in the city on grants; Michael is an art student, while Jean is studying art history. They introduce her to the rest of their group, named the Seven Sinners by Andy Scoville, an archaeology student and son of famous archaeologist Sam Scoville. During a tour of some of the city's famous catacombs, a young man, Albert, is killed. Jean discovers him as he lies dying; Albert leaves her a ...more
Debra Anne
Aug 13, 2013 Debra Anne rated it really liked it
I read this as a teen, and recently as an adult. As a teen I was captivated by the mystery among students in faraway Rome, and found the older character Jaqueline Kirby very interesting and cool, and I could see her very clearly based on the author's description of her appearance and idiosyncrasies. I was stunned by the conclusion of the book, and one sentence regarding a certain betrayal stayed with me for years more or less intact. "As he condemned his daughter for betraying his son."

The main
Jean Poulos
Dec 09, 2013 Jean Poulos rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-audio, mystery
When I heard Barbara Mertz died on August 8, 2013, I looked her books up to see if there was any I had missed reading. Mertz wrote under the name Elizabeth Peter and Barbara Michaels. Under Peter’s she is well known the Abigail Peabody series and under Michaels the Vicky Bliss series. Mertz was an archeologist who wrote mystery novels with an archeology background. I had never heard of the Jacqueline Kirby books until now. I had read all the other books so decided to give the Kirby book a try. M ...more
Val Sanford
I like Elizabeth Peter's books and wanted to like her new character. I just could not get past indifference. The plot should be great: archeological digging under Rome, grad students discovering a dead body and a librarian who isn't exactly what she seems to be. What's not to love? I hope Peters continues with this series. Her new sleuth has a good sense of humor and a sharp mind for well-placed deception.
Mar 25, 2015 Katya rated it it was ok
I'd read this years ago, but remembered nothing about it except the ridiculously contrived "clue" regarding the murderer's identity. The book itself wasn't bad, but I still don't buy (view spoiler).

Still, I enjoy the writing and the characters, especially Jacqueline Kirby, and I'll be carrying on with the series.
Apr 12, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it
I must have read this decades ago, when I was a kid, because the more I read, the more familiar it was. It was originally published in 1972, and I doubt I read it at age 7. More likely I was a teenager who read stacks of books, and loved mysteries set in exotic foreign locales.

Good story, and I felt for the victims, the dead one, and the one who survived, but lost everything.
Pamela Mclaren
An interesting and very different mystery from Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series. Set in modern times with a group of young people who are all conducting research or creating art in Rome, something goes terribly awry when one seemingly kills himself in an ancient underground temple. Then accidents start to happen to the one who discovered him and librarian Jacqueline Kirby (this is the first in the series with this character) —who recently met the group through a lucky? accident — knows th ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Gigi rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I adore Elizabeth Peters' books, but this one never grabbed me. I thought I'd give it another chance, and it still didn't hook me as much as her other mysteries. The main character, librarian Jacqueline Kirby, is one of Peters' main heroines, and I find her a much more entertaining lead in The Murders of Richard III and Naked Once More.
The first of the Kirby mysteries. Jacqueline Kirby, librarian extraordinaire, is in Rome. She bumps into a young man and woman and is soon introduced to their circle of friends. Then, one of that circle is killed and Jacqueline is off on her first murder...
May 25, 2015 April rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audiobook
From a group of seven young adults, one dies. He police say it is suicide, but is it really. I know I enjoyed this type of book more as a teen than now. The puzzle pieces are disjointed and the story doesn't really have a satisfactory conclusion.
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  • Smoke and Mirrors
Elizabeth Peters is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also writes as Barbara Michaels as well as her own name. Born and brought up in Illinois, she earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. Mertz was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998. She lived in a historic farmhouse in Fred ...more
More about Elizabeth Peters...

Other Books in the Series

Jacqueline Kirby (4 books)
  • The Murders of Richard III (Jacqueline Kirby, #2)
  • Die for Love (Jacqueline Kirby, #3)
  • Naked Once More (Jacqueline Kirby, #4)

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“You don't sound like a librarian," she said.
"I'm on vacation," Jacqueline laughed. "Well, I supposed there is an image, isn't there? But stereotypes are awfully misleading. there are typical librarians, but not all librarians are typical. Any more than any other profession.”
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