Book: The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters
Publication date: 1972
Summary: Jean Suttman, an American student abroad in Rome, meets librarian Jacqueline Kirby at an opportune time, just before Jean stumbles over the body of a fellow student in a pagan temple. Jean and her six friends, collectively known as the Seven Sinners, are the prime suspects and Jean may know something that could reveal the murderer, something that puts her life in danger as well.
Thoughts: Elizabeth Peters is more widely known for her series of mysteries featuring Egyptologist Amelia Peabody. I enjoy those, but I was intrigued by this series, that begins with The Seventh Sinner, about Jacqueline Kirby, a librarian. There aren’t a lot of library scenes in this book, and some of those feature the students rather than the librarian, but she is a great character. One of the things I like about role of librarians in academia is that they can be friendly with the students while maintaining a professional relationship with faculty. That sort of middling position is a great space for the amateur sleuth.
Except for the lack of cell phones, The Seventh Sinner comes across surprisingly modern. The young scholars in a foreign venue have much the same concerns as modern students do and the same sources of entertainment.
Appeal: The Seventh Sinner will be enjoyed most by the mystery lover with interests in academia or Rome or Elizabeth Peters fans.
Challenges: The Seventh Sinner is my second book for the What’s in a Name Challenge, meeting the criteria for a title with a number written in letters.
Reviews: I enjoyed, along with the blogger at Bookshelves of Doom, the construction of this mystery where the sleuth is not the main character. Ela’s Book Blog pointed out something I hadn’t noticed — there are not enough clues for the reader to solve the mystery herself until all is revealed. Fortunately, I pretty much suck at that anyway, so I don’t try very hard.
Have you read this book? What did you think?