Review of Covenant with Hell by Priscilla Royal

Priscilla Royal’s latest mystery finds Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas on a pilgrimage to Walsingham to mend Eleanor’s troubled soul. Royal takes on the notion of self-righteous religiosity that’s used to cover personal failings and sins. She also deals with a more subtle theme that she’s explored before—how to live true to oneself when who you are is rejected by your world.

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Review of The Golden Dice by Elisabeth Storrs

The Golden Dice is the second novel in Storr’s series about the Etruscans and their conflicts with the Romans during the early period of Roman history. Vel Mastarna, the general of Etruscan Veii and his Roman wife, Caecilia, strive to overcome both the Roman army and those enemies inside Veii who would gladly destroy them. Through three female narrators we see Roman and Etruscan life and motives from both ends of the social stratum.

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Review of The Serpent and the Pearl by Kate Quinn

Renaissance food in yummy detail, a sophisticated, lascivious pope and his gorgeous (not to mention smart and courageous) concubine, murders reflecting some fascinating if sick mental states, an ornery but lovable dwarf, a mummified saint’s hand with strong opinions—what is not to like about Kate Quinn’s foray into the world of the Borgias?

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Review of Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann

Susan Spann’s Claws of the Cat takes us to Japan during the period of samurais and limited contact with the West. Her two “sleuths” are a most unlikely pair. Hiro, a shinobi assassin (think ninjas for the most part), is living undercover as the protector of Father Mateo, a Jesuit priest who has come to Japan to make converts. From this intriguing partnership Spann spins a mystery that won’t let go of you.

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