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Bright Hair About the Bone (Leatitia Talbot Mysteries, No. 2) Paperback – October 28, 2008

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Frequently Bought Together

Bright Hair About the Bone (Leatitia Talbot Mysteries, No. 2) + A Darker God: A Laetitia Talbot Mystery (William Monk) + The Tomb of Zeus (Letitia Talbot Mysteries)
Price for all three: $36.99

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Product Details

  • Series: Leatitia Talbot Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 401 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385339895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385339896
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dagger Award–winner Cleverly's third Laetitia Talbot mystery falls short of the high standard set by the first in this historical series, The Tomb of Zeus (2007). Talbot, a fiercely independent amateur sleuth in the spirit of Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher, is plunged into international intrigue after her godfather, Daniel Thorndon, is stabbed to death in Burgundy in 1926. Before dying, Thorndon managed to mail a coded postcard to Talbot, using a cipher the two had shared when she was much younger. Aided by an improbable bodyguard, a military chaplain who served in WWI, Talbot journeys to France, where she uses her archeological skills to link up with a dig that may enable her to solve the mystery of Thorndon's death. Stock characters abound, like an enigmatic but handsome French nobleman, rather than the original creations who populate Cleverly's Joe Sandilands historical series (Ragtime in Simla, etc.). (Oct.)
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From Booklist

Cleverly brings readers an engrossing new historical mystery. British archaeologist Laetitia “Letty” Talbot secures a place working on the excavation of an ancient church in Burgundy, France, in 1926. Her happiness is tempered by the fact that her godfather, Daniel Thorndon, died violently while working there. As she works, she realizes that Daniel’s death was not an accident and begins investigating the circumstances. As she delves into the case, she uncovers some of the region’s ancient history and its links to a powerful French family with a shocking secret. She also learns about Celtic mysteries and uncovers a revelation that could have major implications for the future of Christianity. Cleverly’s complex plot and doom-laden atmosphere will appeal to a diverse group of readers, from Da Vinci Code devotees to those who relish the archaeological mysteries of Elizabeth Peters. --Barbara Bibel

More About the Author

Barbara Cleverly is a former teacher and a graduate of Durham University who now lives in Cambridge. Her debut, The Last Kashmiri Rose, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2002.

Customer Reviews

Good development of characters.
Bonnie Scott
This book was not my taste which was very disappointing.
Smart Sister
I am a true fan of anything Ms. Cleverly writes.
Theone Fife

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Terry Weiss on January 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a devoted fan of the Joe Sandiland series by Barbara Cleverly. I thoroughly enjoyed her first Laetitia Talbot book - "The Tomb of Zeus" - and was panting with anticipation to get my hands on this one. However, it was just plain disappointing. I still like the characters, love the archaeological settings, and find the writing good. However, the plot just plain fell flat. The story in this book appears to predate the story in the first book of the series, and I remember noticing while reading "Tomb of Zeus" that it seemed to be a sequel. I can see why a decision was made to publish the second part of the story first - assuming that's what was done - it's immeasurably better and readers are much more likely to come back for more than if this one was first.

I am wondering if Ms. Cleverly might need a vacation. I found that the last two Joe Sandiland books were also not up to the quality of the previous ones - and that's a shame. I own all of them and they are on the list of books I reread every couple of years. I'm going to continue to buy and read Cleverly books - good writers don't grow on trees, and she is definitely in the top bunch of mystery writers. Whatever it takes to come back - do it and continue to delight us with your wonderful prose.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts VINE VOICE on January 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
First Sentence: The priest smoothed down his white robe and prepared to make his entrance into the Village Hall.

Laetitia Stella St. Clair Talbot receives a postcard from her beloved godfather after learning he has been murdered in a medieval town in France. Determined to discover what happened, she employs her archeological talents to gain a position on a dig going on in the town. As her father won't allow her to travel alone, he employs an injured veteran of WWI who is also a cleric. Once there, the encounters an imperious count and a town linked to Mary Magdalene and Celtic goddesses.

I love Barbara Cleverly's Joe Sandilands series but wonder what she was thinking to create a character as annoying as Laetitia. She leapt to conclusions about people, she was arrogant and, at times, too stupid to live. It's a shame because once you got past her, which is hard to do as these the protagonist; the story had some very good points.

The secondary character of Gunning was excellent. A former Army chaplain invalided out of WWI, he provided a means by which I learned more about that time; both the war and the aftermath. There is a tragic statement, which was believed at the time, that France would never again be so weak there would be blood shed on its soil.

Cleverly is skilled at educating the reader without it ever being preachy or out of context with the story. Her other great still is in description and creating an evocative sense of place. That adds such richness to the story.

NOTE: I have recently learned this was Cleverly's first book, which was not originally published. Only after the Sandilands series and "Tomb of Zeus" did her publisher decide to release this. I'm happy to say Ms. Cleverly's writing has improved greatly since this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
In 1926 in the village of Fontigny-Saint-Reine, Burgundy, someone stabs Daniel Thorndon while he was researching artifacts at the private library of Edmond d'Aubec. Before Thorndon dies he sends postcard to his goddaughter Leticia "Letty": Talbot; the message is in a code they made up years ago when she was a child.

A stunned Letty, accompanied by Army chaplain William Gunning, travels to France to learn who killed her godfather and why. To achieve her objective, Letty goes undercover obtaining work with the archeological dig led by Dr. Charles Paradee. However, instead of antiquity or even Victorian, they find the modern day corpse of a stable boy who worked at d'Aubec's nearby chateau. Letty persuades Edmond to allow her to look at Daniel's work on ancient religious manuscripts, which brings her to the attention of a killer.

With Joe Sandilands taking a well deserved breather (see RAGTIME IN SIMLA), independent Letty Talbot makes her second star appearance (see THE TOMB OF ZEUS) in a terrific historical whodunit. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that a determined Letty decides to investigate the murder of her godfather. Although the religious angle has been overdone a zillion times, fans will toast with fine French wine this fun 1920s amateur sleuth reminiscent of Carola Dunn's married Daisy Dalrymple.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Laetitia Talbot is no Joe Sandilands -- and therein lies the problem.
While Cleverly's mysteries revolving around Sandilands are compelling and solidly-plotted, she appears to give less attention to this new series, revolving around a young archaelogist's (mis)adventures in Crete and, now, Burgundy.
In this book -- which is still a lively and engaging read -- Laetitia sets off 'undercover' to try to discover who murdered her godfather, working at the site of an archaelogical dig near Lyon. The typical cast of characters for this kind of book emerges -- the colorful locals, including a charming yet possibly sociopathic local count, who takes to Laetitia immediately and seems intent on seducing her. Then there is William Gunning, a former vicar who somehow survived four years of trench warfare physically, although he struggles to find meaning to his life in its aftermath.
Alas... you know a book hasn't lived up to its potential when its most compelling character isn't the heroine but Gunning, the troubled but thoughtful man assigned by Laetitia's father to make sure she runs into no harm during her explorations. In this kind of book, it's possible to overlook the sometimes choppy narrative (it leaps from a chapter where mysterious figures are suggesting that she vanish en route to Fontigny-Sainte-Reine to her safe arrivel there with barely a breath of any threat to her, and introduces scary characters who never really make another appearance as such until they are safely dead). But beyond the niggly details -- such as the inability to fit this book into any chronology with its predecessor
...Read more ›
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