A new heroine from the creator of the internationally bestselling Amelia Peabody series A missing masterwork in wood, the last creation of a master carver who died in the violent tumult of sixteenth century Germany, may be hidden in the medieval castle in the town of Rothenburg. The prize has called to Vicky Bliss, drawing her and an arrogant male colleague into the forbidding citadel and its dark secrets. But the treasure hunt soon turns deadly. Here, where the blood of the long forgotten stains ancient stones, Vicky must face two perilous possibilities: either a powerful supernatural evil inhabits the place... or someone frighteningly real is willing to kill for what Vicky is determined to find.
Who stole one of Egypt's most priceless treasures? The Egyptian authorities and Interpol believe they know the identity of the culprit: "Sir John Smythe," the suave and dangerously charming international art thief who is, in fact, John Tregarth, the longtime significant other of famed art expert and sometime sleuth Vicky Bliss. But John swears he is retired—not to mention innocent—and he vows to clear his name. With complete faith in her man's integrity, Vicky takes a hiatus from her job at a leading Munich museum and follows him to the Middle East. But dark days and myriad dangers await John, Vicky, and her employer, the rotund gourmand and insatiable adventurer Herr Doktor Anton Z. Schmidt. And the stakes are elevated considerably when a ransom note arrives accompanied by a grisly memento—because now it appears that murder has been added to the equation.
Vicky Bliss is the first to admit she doesn't know a thing about Egyptology. But her familiarity with criminality brings an intelligence agency to her office with an offer she can't refuse: they want her as an undercover operative on a luxury Nile cruise because certain information has come their way that a major theft of Egyptian antiquities is in the works.Vicky suspects the man they are seeking is her occasional lover and frequent adversary, Sir John Smythe.Then, on the first day of her Nile cruise, she spots him - with a beautiful woman clinging to his arm.Stunned and furious, Vicky is too preoccupied with her own feelings to concentrate on crime on the cruise - but then one of the crew is brutally murdered and Vicky finds she must put all her emotions aside and join forces with her duplicitous lover if she wants to solve the case...
'One of Elizabeth Peters' best thrillers yet& and so funny you will laugh aloud' PW
One red rose, a one-way ticket to Stockholm, and a cryptic message in Latin intrigue Vicky Bliss - as they were precisely intended to do. Vicky recognises the handiwork of her former lover, jewel thief John Smythe, and she takes the bait, eagerly following Smythe's lead in the hope offinding a lost treasure. But the trail begins at a priceless fifth century chalice which will place Vicky at the mercy of a gang of ruthless criminals who have their eyes on an even more valuable prize. And the hunt threatens to turn deadly on a remote island, where a captive Vicky must dig deep at an excavation into the distant past.
What did it mean? The note with the hieroglyphs was found in the pocket of a man lying dead in an alley. The only other item of interest on him was a piece of jewellery, a reproduction of the Charlemagne talisman, but so well done that Vicky Bliss thought she was being shown the real thing. The gold work had been done by a master craftsman; the stones were of top quality synthetic...Vicky didn't know what it meant yet, but ion the sundrenched streets and moonlit courtyards of Rome, she was going to find out - if the dangerously exciting Englishman didn't get in her way!
A picture is worth a thousand words . . . but the photograph art historian Vicky Bliss has just received in the mail gives rise to a thousand questions instead. At first glance it appears to be the famous portrait of Frau Schliemann adorned in the gold of Troy. But closer study reveals the picture to be contemporary—which is odd since Vicky knows the Trojan gold vanished sometime around the end of World War Two. And if she needed further proof that something here is terribly amiss, a quick look at the blood-stained envelope the photo arrived in should do the trick.
Yet Vicky is not the only expert to receive this mysterious mailing. And the entire circle is gathering for a festive Bavarian Christmas—one, hopefully, to be made even more festive by the rediscovery of an ancient lost treasure. But the celebration could prove to be short—and bloody—courtesy of a very determined killer in their midst . . .
"A thriller from start to finish." -- --St. Louis Post Dispatch