Book Review│The Mausoleum by David Mark

david markI was immediately drawn to this book and was really excited when the advanced galley was delivered to my kindle. The novel starts out with an elderly man on his death bed wracked with pain with two women standing over him in 2010. The women, Cordelia Hemlock and Felicity Goose have known each other for many years and have been investigating this unfolding historical mystery since the 1960’s when they first met.

A Chance Meeting in a Graveyard

In 1967, Cordelia is a disgraced academic who has recently arrived in a small town in Scotland called Gisland. She is deep in her grief over the loss of her 2-year-old son. She finds solace in the neighboring graveyard and spends her time among the tombstones, perhaps longing to some connection to her deceased son or to death itself. Felicity comes upon her one day, laying among the graves. The two women strike up a conversation just as a storm blows in bringing heavy rain and severe lightning with it. Felicity offers to let Cordelia come back to her cottage with her since it is closer than where Cordelia is staying. Just as the two are leaving, lightning strikes a nearby mausoleum causing it to break open and reveals a body that is only days old. The two women rush to Felicity’s home where they tell her neighbor Fairfax about it. He then rushes out to see the body and get the constable. Only, he is killed and it is found that the body is gone from the mausoleum. Thus begins a long friendship between Cordelia and Felicity that spans decades as they try to uncover the mystery of the body that they found all those years ago.

A Nazi Gestapo & the French Milice

The Mausoleum became an engrossing historical investigation that plunges the two women into the world of Nazi’s and their supporters. This story takes us back to the horrors of World War II and the pervading evilness that the Gestapo enacted on countless victims that for some, continued on even after the war was over. The French Milice are also part of the torture of this novel. While the Nazis dominated Germany, the Milice were a political group in France during the same time that aided in rounding up and deporting French Jews and their families to the concentration and death camps. Also similar to the Nazis who had Hitler Youths, the French Milice also encouraged youth to participate in their youth program known as the Avant-Garde.

The Mysterious Abel

Fairfax, prior to his untimely death, is a writer who records everything that he can get his hands on. One of the things he has recorded is the testimony of a man who describes his life and the torture he endured under the hands of the Nazi Gestapo and the French Milice. The account is horrendous and the abuse and torture seemed to be neverending. The testimony records the Gestapo’s name as being Abel. Could this Abel be the man that the two women found in the grave? The mystery only expands from here, sending the women deep into history to uncover the truth in the present. If you’re looking for a novel that unravels slowly and plunges you deep into a historical investigation then this is a mystery that you will have to pick up.

Book Information

The Mausoleum by David Mark will be released on June 1, 2019, from Severn House Publishers with ISBN 9780727888723. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review. To be linked to special pre-order pricing, click the link above!

Book Review: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

In the last installment of the Sookie Stackhouse Series, Charlaine Harris wraps up her story of the sexy telepath from Bon Temps. Readers get a lot of their questions from Deadlocked answered while still creating new ones that will hopefully be explored in a later supplement to the series.

Out of all the Sookie books, this one was probably the calmest. There is very little action and when compared to the other books, not as much murder and bloodshed, though this book does have its fair share of that too. Most importantly, readers finally get an answer to the question that began all the back to the first book– who does Sookie choose, Eric or Bill?

That answer is somewhat surprising, but at the same time not completely alarming because true fans of the series and even of the show, could see that answer coming for a long time. Overall, Harris leaves Sookie in probably the best place she could find herself in considering everything that happened to her since the Vamps came out of the coffin. Loose ends are tied up and enemies finally banished (for now), leaving our heroine at peace for the time being.

We also get to see most of Sookie’s ex-loves and flirtations, including were-tiger Quinn and the oh so dreamy, Alcide Herveaux which is never a difficult thing to have to read about.

Not to disappoint, Harris will be releasing a novel-length epilogue of sorts in October explaining what happened to her much beloved characters following the conclusion of the series.

For my reviews on all other Sookie Stackhouse books, click on the sookie stackhouse novels tag at the bottom of this post.

Score: 4.5/5

Book Information: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris was released in May 2013 by Ace Books with ISBN 978-1937007881.

Death and Restoration (Art History Mystery) – Book Review

dearhThere is nothing quite as lush as pairing the rich, vibrant world of art history with that of a mystery. Iain Pears, an art historian, pairs the two together in his novel, Death and Restoration. It is the sixth novel in Pears’ Jonathan Argyll series. However, readers who are new to it, will not be lost in what came in books prior. Pears subtly reminds his readers of important past events and relationships that are key to following the mystery in Death and Restoration.

The Plot

Again, the book opens with the series main characters, Argyll and his soon-to-be wife, Flavia di Stefano. The two are immersed in the Italian art world– Flavia, as a member of the Rome police’s art squad and Argyll as a professor of art history. The plot is mainly centered around a art-theft, but breaks off into smaller sub-plots that each character seamlessly narrates.

Argyll, for example is bothered by his fiancee’s frequent absences from their wedding planning while, Flavia is more pre-occupied with trying to prove that her revival, Mary Verney is in Rome, bent on master-minding a great art theft. However, everything is changed when it is uncovered that Verney is in Rome to steal a painting, but her reasons for it have nothing to do with personal gain, but rather to free her kidnapped granddaughter Louise from the sadistic Mikis Charanis.

The Mystery

Further questions arise, though, when Verney is supposed to steal the Madonna artifact from San Giovanni. The big question is, why does Mikis Charanis want this artifact? Why would he want the lesser known, not as valuable artifact when he could black mail Verney into stealing the Caravaggio that San Giovanni is known for?

For those who had fallen in love with the Jonathan Argyll series with An Instance of the Fingerpost, they will not be let down by where Pears takes the series in Death and Restoration. Overall, this installment of the series is full-bodied and enticing as the reader is led through the underbelly of the art world and through the lush richness of Baroque-inspired Italy.

Other works in the Jonathan Agryll series includes The Raphael Affair, The Titian Committee, The Bernini Bust, The Last Judgement, and Giotto’s Hand. So far, the series has not been extended past The Immaculate Deception. Pears does have a body of work outside of his Jonathon Agryll series.

Death and Restoration by Iain Pears was published on August 5, 2003 by Berkley Trade with ISBN 0425190420.