Mary F. Burns

Nearly 150 years have passed since Moses Shapira, an antiquarian book dealer in Jerusalem, up-ended the Victorian world of biblical scholars and archaeologists by declaring he had discovered the earliest Bible text in the world--an original Book of Deuteronomy, which included the Commandments--ELEVEN of them. He offered fifteen leather-like fragments to the British Museum for one million pounds--the London papers could talk of nothing else for weeks in the summer of 1883, and Shapira was a celebrity. Experts at the museum pored over the manuscripts and came to a decision: they were forgeries, not the 3000-year-old scrolls that Moses insisted they were. He left London in disgrace. Six months later, he was found in a shabby hotel in Rotterdam, a bullet through his head. But was it suicide, as the police thought, or was it murder? Historical fiction author Mary F. Burns has incorporated Shapira's story into the fourth book of her series, The John Singer Sargent/Violet Paget Mysteries. She has consulted with scholars and researchers who are currently involved in the continuing debate about the authenticity of "The Shapira Scrolls", the fate of their owner, and the whereabouts of the scrolls themselves: Idan Dershowitz, Chanan Tigay, Ross K. Nichols and Matthew Hamilton among them. With a researcher's attention to detail and a mystery writer's touch for the human story, Burns has created a masterful suspense story, set in two time periods that start out decades apart and end with the tragedy of Shapira's death. Her witty and sympathetic amateur sleuths, Sargent and Paget, become involved in the mystery when it literally lands on their doorstep one afternoon in Paris. They are driven to navigate a complicated nest of intrigue, impelled by the tantalizing suggestions that the artifacts were authentic, and their owner murdered. Learn more about the author at her website: and view the video book trailer at https: //

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The Eleventh Commandment