Poisoned Pen, March 2004, 24.95, 258 pp.
In Constantinople in 542 Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora rule. John the Lord Chamberlain faithfully serves his emperor but even he cannot do anything about the plague that sweeps the land. The aristocrats flee the city for their country estates and the once teeming city is a ghost town where carters pick up the dead bodies off the street and move them to a central location so they can be burned.
At the moment, John is trying to help his elderly servant Peter who swears he had a vision in which an angel came to him and said three words “Gregory, Murder, Justice” When John checks the nearby hospice, he finds Gregory's body but the man did not die of the plague. He was murdered with a knife that went through his heart. John discovers that the man witnessed an oral will with six other people whom are mostly dead. John follows the money trail hoping to find the perpetrator so Peter will have Justice for his friend.
Every historical that Mary Reed and Eric Mayer write is better than the one before as impossible as that sounds. Readers obtain a good understanding about a city under siege by a plague and how the populace copes with it. The hero is an honorable man who goes the extra mile for the servant who has served him faithfully for so many years. FIVE FOR SILVER has moments of humor that adds an extra texture to a mystery that is gothic in nature.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner