Mary F. Burns
2023 |

The death of a humble clergyman in 1877 leads amateur sleuths Violet Paget and John Singer Sargent into a medieval world of saints and kings--including the legendary Arthur--as they follow a trail of relics and antiquities lost since the destruction of Glastonbury Abbey in 1539. Written in alternating chapters between the two time periods, The Spoils of Avalon creates a sparkling, magical mystery that bridges the gap between two worlds that could hardly be more different: the industrialized, Darwinian, materialistic Victorian Age and the agricultural, faith-infused life of a medieval abbey on the brink of violent change at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. First in a new series of historical mysteries, The Spoils of Avalon introduces two life-long friends as a different kind of detecting team, beginning as young people on the verge of making their names famous for the next several decades throughout Europe and America: the brilliant and brittle Violet Paget, known as the writer Vernon Lee, and the talented, genial portrait painter John Singer Sargent. (300 pages in paperback edition) "The Spoils of Avalon blends the rich details of historical fiction with the suspenseful, clue-driven sleuthing that characterizes the best in mystery. Dual timelines and missing Arthurian artifacts add delightful layers to this compelling, well-written series, which not only offers a unique, artistic twist on the "Holmes and Watson" detecting pair but places a female sleuth--the brilliant Violet Paget--in the driver's seat. A must for fans of historical mysteries." -- Susan Spann, author of the Shinobi Mysteries "What an engaging, literate page-turner! The author does so many things well in this historical novel. First, she creates two mysteries that take place centuries apart, both of them well-plotted and full of the sweet tension that mystery readers will love. Second, she develops a witty, likable pair of characters from historical friends, Violet Paget and John Singer Sargent. Third, she gently educates readers about history, art, legend, and the grand events involving Henry VIII's break with the Roman Catholic Church. Finally, she creates two past worlds so effectively that I enjoyed losing myself in them, and suspending my twenty-first century skepticisms." -- Mark Wiederanders, author of Stevenson's Treasure.

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The Spoils of Avalon