The Wolf and the Lamb: A Jerusalem Mystery
Poisoned Pen, Dec 2 2014, $24.95
In 30 CE Jerusalem, Roman Emperor Tiberius’ outpost inspector Cassia Drusus arrests the Empire’s Prefect of Judea and Overseer of the Palestine Pontius Pilate for the murder of his adversarial rival Aurelius Decimus. Stunned Pilate is well aware of how damaging the evidence is and that his Roman compatriots want to exile him back home where he will face certain death. Thus he turns to honorable Sanhedrin Chief Rabban Gamaliel, who has solved several mysteries lately (see The Eighth Veil and Holy Smoke), to prove his innocence in spite of being caught with blood on him while next to the corpse in which his dagger protruded from the victim’s heart.
Ironically Rabban Gamaliel believes the greatest threat to the Jewish people comes from the despicable Pilate. Aware of the condemnation and most likely assassination attempts he will receive from his people (especially the deadly Dagger Men) if they learn of his task, Rabban Gamaliel agrees to investigate. With assists from his physician friend Loukas and Pilate’s “messenger” Marius, Rabban Gamaliel begins his dangerous inquiry. Meanwhile as Jews celebrate Passover, High Priest of the Temple Caiaphas arrests the Galilean upstart Yeshua ben Joseph abetted by Pilate’s clever sacrifice rule to keep Rabban Gamaliel from presiding over a trial.
The third Jerusalem Mystery is a fantastic entry in what is one of the best ancient times’ investigative series. Though the first century Holy Land inquiry is excellent, the historical background hooks the audience. Spellbinding are reasonable explanations as to why Pilate and Caiaphas feared Yeshua so much that these natural enemies collaborated to eliminate him while disregarding Gamaliel’s warning they will regret their decision once they understand the outcome.