Putnam, Mar 2009, $25.95
In 1176 during the reign of King Henry II, a fire causes damage to the holy Glastonbury Abbey. After the flames are put out, an ancient box is found. Inside are skeletal remains of a man and a woman.
King Henry II directs Adelia "Mistress of the Art of Death" Aguilar to investigate starting with identifying whose bones these are. Everyone who knows of the discovery and how old the container has to be, prays the remains prove to be proof of Camelot; King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Adelia and her “forensic” support team (Mansur, Gyltha, and daughter Allie) begin their inquiry into who were buried in the coffin; each prays that their leader will be able to tell the ruler what he wants to hear, but Ariana’s crew knows she will tell the truth regardless of what they learn.
As with the two previous Aguilar medieval mysteries (see Mistress OF THE ART OF DEATH and THE SERPENT'S TALE) Ariana Franklin provides her audience with a blending of a Judith Tarr historical with a Kay Scarpetta forensics thriller. The story line is fast-paced and clever with its Arthurian connection. Adelia is a terrific lead character who leads the inquiry with a strong support squad in which they bring to life the court of King Henry II. Sub-genre readers and Camelot fans will appreciate this entertaining who are they twelfth century detective story.