Thursday, January 6, 2022

Book & Audio Review: The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters

The Seventh Sinner

Elizabeth Peters
Narrator: Grace Conlin
Series: A Jacqueline Kirby Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: William Morrow; Reissue edition (October 13, 2009); Blackstone Audio, Inc. (November 21, 2003)
Length: 256 p.; 5 hours and 50 minutes

Description: For vibrant, lovely Jean Suttman, the fellowship to study in Rome was the culmination of all her dreams, until she undertook an innocent expedition to the ancient subterranean Temple of Mithra.

From the moment she stepped into the pagan darkness and discovered the corpse of the repulsive Albert, one of her fellow students, she was afraid. Not even the comforting presence of the perceptive and practical Jacqueline Kirby could erase the fear that was nourished by one small accident after another. "Accidents" that came dreadfully close to killing her.

Someone was stalking Jean, someone ruthless and determined. Before long she could see no chance of rescue from the ever-present hope of escape...nothing but death...

My Thoughts: This story introduces librarian Jacqueline Kirby when she is literally run into by Jean Suttman in the Institute Library in Rome one lovely May day. Jean is on fellowship to study there with a specialty in mosaics. Jacqueline is spending time in Europe after sending her children off to college.

As an apology, Jean offers to take Jacqueline out for a drink and introduces her to some friends. The friends are an eclectic group of students whose specialties range from art history to archaeology. They have named themselves the Seven Sinners. But there is an eighth hanger-on. Albert Gebara is a childhood acquaintance of one the group members but his repellent looks and personality make him a person the group tries to avoid.

The group and Jacqueline gather for a tour of some catacombs and Albert tags along. When Jean stumbles on Albert who has had his throat cut and is near death, the story becomes a mystery. Only Jean knows that he tried to write the number 7 as he lay dying. Jacqueline is not convinced, as the Roman police seem to be, the Albert committed suicide. After all he had burst in on a part the evening before accusing someone of theft. 

When Jean begins to suffer from "accidents" including a fall down some dark stairs, being shoved into traffic, and almost drowning in the pool at Jacqueline's place, both Jacqueline and Jean begin to try to find out who murdered Albert and who thinks Jean knows something that will uncover the villain.

I loved the setting of Rome and the various personalities of the young scholars who make up the Seven Sinners. There was a lot of fun information about archaeological and historical Rome. I really liked Jacqueline who is bright, observant, and intriguing.

The mystery was nicely complex and Grace Conlin did a great job both with the voices and with the increasing tension in the story. This book was originally published in 1972 and sometimes that shows mostly in the fashions and in the fact the Jacqueline smokes. It was a fun story.

Favorite Quote:
Half the trouble in human relations arises from expecting human beings to conform to a single one-dimensional image. We are all hydra-headed monsters. But most people never learn that. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I like your quote. I dont know about monsters but we all so varied within ourselves.
    One thing I am determined to do is visit more blogs this month for a start.


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