LJ's Reviews > The Tomb of Zeus

The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly
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's review
Jan 09, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: female_author, amateur_sleuth, crete, golden_age_1918-1939
Read in December, 2007

THE TOMB OF ZEUS (Amateur Sleuth-Laetitia Talbot-Crete-1928) – VG
Cleverly, Barbara – Standalone
Delta Trade Paperbacks, 2007, US Trade paperback, ISBN: 9780385339902

First Sentence: The big gates were in sight and were standing open.

*** Laetitia Talbot is an aspiring archaeologist who has come to Crete. There she finds a man she’s known before, her host, Theodore Russell who is looking for the Tomb of Zeus and has assigned Laetitla a site for her dig, and his charismatic wife, Phoebe. Laetitia finds Phoebe hanged, doesn’t believe it to be a suicide and joins forces with the local police to find the killer.

*** I really enjoyed this book on many levels. The character isn’t flamboyant, such as Kate Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher, whom I enjoy, and isn’t egotistically irritating, such as Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody. In fact, the book and protagonist reminded me a bit of Mary Stewart’s suspense novels in that the protagonist is smart, independent and resourceful. Cleverly provides a very strong sense of place and history, and I learned about both, which I really enjoy from a book. From the prologue to the end, Cleverly does give you all the clues to the solution; but they are subtle and you really have to pay attention to catch them. Both the story and the characters were revealed rather as the layers of an onion; the further you went, the more you learned. I enjoyed each new revelation as it was given and had the occasional “oh, wow” reaction. I’m not a big fan of the amateur sleuth, so I really appreciated that, in the end, it was the police who solve the mystery. There’s a little bit of a romance, which adds to the fun. The only slight negative I had was that Cleverly occasionally went off on archaeological tangents that, while fascinating, slowed down the story a bit. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope we’ll see more of Laetitia.

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