DEATH AMONG THE RUINS – Pamela Christie
An Arabella Beaumont Mystery
England and Italy during the Regency
Famous—or infamous—London courtesan Arabella Beaumont is awaiting the arrival of a very expensive and rather outrageous piece of artwork. The statue of Pan, discovered in Herculaneum near Pompeii, is noteworthy for its unique male, er, attributes. Yes, this Pan has been sculpted with not one, but two manhoods. So, obviously, Arabella must have him for her garden. But she is furious when she receives word that her statue has been stolen and a man murdered before it could even begin its journey to England. Not one to sit back and let someone take advantage of her, Arabella sets off for Italy to track down her prize.
Accompanied by Belinda, Arabella's sister; their brother, Charles; and John Kendrick, rector of Effing, who carries a torch for the wickedly lovely courtesan, Arabella sets off for Italy. As usual, her headstrong plans do not take into consideration that no one in their group speaks Italian, but she will forge ahead. The hotel they have booked is filled with some interesting characters who are mildly shocked to learn of Arabella's and Belinda's means of income. The Terranova family, headed by Father Terranova, a priest, are all a bit odd and suspect as far as Arabella is concerned. She immediately proceeds with her investigation of the loss of her statue. But it's evident from the start that someone doesn't want her to find it.
DEATH AMONG THE RUINS is the second Arabella Beaumont mystery, and it's very entertaining. Self-assured and, at times, reckless and thoughtless, Arabella can be rude, haughty, or downright bawdy, but is almost always amusing. Her sidekicks can be just as outrageous as she is, but they pale in comparison to her. The mystery is well thought-out, and the adventures among the household staff back in London are equally well done.
There is plenty to like about this series, but the witty dialogue and enjoyable characters make these stories. Don't miss this one.