LJ's Reviews > Sonnet of the Sphinx

Sonnet of the Sphinx by Diana Killian
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Jan 10, 10

bookshelves: amateur_sleuth, contemporary_post_1945, england, female_author, mystery, mysterybookclub
Read in January, 2010

First Sentence: All week the priests and religiosi wound up and down the baked streets, praying for rain.

Grace Hollister is an American literature teacher with a love for the Romantic Poets. Peter Fox is an ex-jewel thief who is now an antiques dealer. They live in a small town within England's Lake District.

Peter bought the contents of an old farmhouse and, going through them, they find an old letter which refers to a lost sonnet by Shelly. However, they are interrupted by a threatening visit from a man who knew Peter when he was imprisoned in Turkey. When the man is found dead, Peter is a suspect. But who is trying to kill Grace?

I've not read this author before and was concerned she might be too cozy for my taste. I'm happy to say I was wrong.

There are wonderfully evocative descriptions that both add to the appeal of the location and to the suspense of the story. Both the outdoor and the indoor locations come to life.

I enjoy the author's voice. There is wonderful, subtle humor, appreciated that a character realized the coincidence of an event and enjoyed her analogies: "Grace's brain continued to spin sweet airy fantasy as though someone had left a cotton candy machine on overdrive."

Grace is a character with whom I could identify on many levels. She may get herself into situations, but it never feels as though she is too stupid to live. She keeps her head and gets herself out of danger, never expecting someone to come to her rescue. Peter is intriguing and someone about whom I want to know more, but it is always grace in the lead of the story.

The plot was good, but not perfect. There were hints to events in previous books which became annoying as no background information was provided. Although there seemed to be several threads, they were all tied up at the end and I certainly never identified the killer.

With the combination of a strong sense of place, excellent dialogue, great characters, literary information, good suspense, and unexpected killer and a wonderful ending, I so enjoyed the book, I've ordered the others in the series so I may start at the beginning.

SONNET OF THE SPHINX (Ama Sleuth-Grace Hollister/Peter Fox-England-Cont) - VG
Killian, Diana - 3rd in series
Pocket, 2006, US Paperback - ISBN: 0743466802
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