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Murder in Megara: A John, the Lord Chamberlain Mystery (John the Lord Chamberlain Mysteries Book 11) by [Mayer, Eric, Reed, Mary]
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Murder in Megara: A John, the Lord Chamberlain Mystery (John the Lord Chamberlain Mysteries Book 11) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
Book 11 of 11 in John the Lord Chamberlain (11 Book Series)

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The plot moves steadily forward, the pages of the novel are thickly peopled with interesting people and readers will enjoy the intimate views and thoughts of both high and low-born citizens. Since followers of the series understand that certain characters, regardless of the negative vicissitudes of life visited upon them, will survive, however there are several likeable and vulnerable characters about whom to speculate. Excellent enjoyable novel. (DorothyL)

Long used to solving mysteries for an emperor, a newly powerless man must solve one for himself. John, the former Lord Chamberlain to Emperor Justinian, has been exiled to a small estate he owns in Greece, where he grew up near the town of Megara. His servant, Peter, and Peter's wife, Hypatia, are attacked on a shopping trip to town. The estate is in complete disarray. And John is unpleasantly surprised by a visit from Theophilus, his hated stepfather. Attempting to maintain some semblance of control, John fires his overseer, Diocles, who has obviously been plundering the estate and is probably involved in a scheme to dig for the treasure that is reputedly buried there. On a trip into Megara, John is warned by Georgios, the City Defender, that it would be prudent to leave the area. When first Theophilus and then Diocles are found stabbed to death, John must investigate before he's arrested for murder. Fortunately, he gets some support from two boyhood friends, one a worker in the tax office and the other the abbot of the nearby monastery of Saint Stephen. Although John's wife, Cornelia, is ready to move on, John, who's solved many mysteries for the emperor in Constantinople (Ten for Dying, 2014, etc.), finds that digging into corruption, past secrets, and misdeeds in a small town is every bit as dangerous as the intrigue of the emperor's court. John's 11th case combines historical detail with a cerebral mystery full of surprises. (Kirkus)

In 11 previous books (Ten for Dying), John the Eunuch has served as Lord Chamberlain to the Emperor Justinian in Constantinople. Now, he has retired to an estate in the Greek town of Megara, after Justinian exiles him for his role in uncovering the assassin of the Empress Theodosia. When his truculent stepfather is found murdered in an ancient temple of Demeter, John is powerless to defend himself. Surrounded by suspects, including a wealthy merchant masquerading as a monk, a belligerent pig farmer, a corrupt overseer, and the city defender who regards him with great suspicion, John realizes that searching into his own past may identify the killer. VERDICT Meticulous research makes this historical series set in the Byzantine empire a joy to read. Admirers of Steven Saylor and Lindsey Davis will enjoy exploring this ancient world (Library Journal)

Fifteen years ago or more someone in The Reluctant Famulus wrote a review of One for Sorrow by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer. Whoever it was, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! The novel was the first of the John the Chamberlain/John the Eunuch series and on the strength of that review I ordered a copy from the States and instantly became addicted~~~Now Poisoned Pen Press has released the eleventh in the John the Chamberlain/Eunuch series, Murder in Megara.~~~ Their narrative is barbed with questions about every motive, about every danger and about every possibility and with each question the screw is tightened once again but (as if for counterbalance) the dialogue often has a poetry of its own (Eric Barraclough The Reluctant Famulus)

This was my first time to read a story set in the Byzantine era, and I enjoyed the trip through history via this well-written mystery. The descriptions were nicely done, and I really got a sense of the place and the the way people lived at that time.~~~The characters were also nicely drawn and very real people. I enjoyed the closeness that John and Cornelia have and the way that came across in their banter and their affection for each other. I also really liked Peter and Hypatia, long-time servants to John and Cornelia.~~~Peter is of advanced age, and Hypatia is much younger, and the difficulties of their relationship take up most of the subplot of the story. At first I wondered why considerable time was given to them, but that became clear as the story started to wrap up. And I did love Peter. He tried so hard to rise above the limitations of his age and was willing to go to the gallows for Hypatia.~~~The mystery was played out nicely, with suspicion cast on a number of people, and that push and pull between suspects handled just right. I was kept guessing until close to the end.~~~The authors also did an excellent job of giving bits of past history of the characters, so the reader had a sense of what came before this story opened. That is always a challenge with a series to give what a reader needs but not too much and the authors handled that well.~~~All in all, this was an enjoyable read. (Goodreads)

If you have been following the Lord Chamberlain series, you already have made the acquaintance of John, the former Lord Chamberlain and his wife Cornelia. You know that John has fallen into disfavor with the Court of Justinian in sixth century Constantinople. Instead of suffering a death sentence, he has been sent to live in exile in the village where he grew up.~~~If you are unfamiliar with this engaging series, where have you been? You are lucky. It is easy to get caught up with the story. The authors' wonderful research and writing skills clue you in with no trouble at all.~~~John, Cornelia and their household are not welcomed in the village. They are beginning to be fearful. John's stepfather appears unexpectedly and no one is happy to see him. John recounts the horror of growing up with a man who proved to be very cruel. However, before he can leave, he is murdered! As if John doesn't have enough on his mind, his neighbors from the village try to set his house on fire with them in the house. No one seems to understand that John doesn't want to be there as much as the villagers don’t want him there.~~~Murder in Magara's plot could probably fit in any century, but choosing this one allowed me to learn about a time that I really knew very little about. And I took it all in with no pain and enjoyed the murder mystery at the same time. The story is well written, with characters you can love and others you can hate. They exhibit the same characteristics we find today in those around us. The setting seems very real. I'm glad I live today, but am happy to read about yesterday. Look forward to doing so again. (Book Loons)

Reed and Mayer’s solid 11th John the Chamberlain mystery (after 2014’s Ten for Dying) finds the sixth-century sleuth no longer serving Emperor Justinian. Now living in exile from Constantinople on his family’s estate near Megara, Greece, John is discomfited to learn that those who have been in charge of managing it have been cheating him. He fires the overseer, Diocles, whom he holds mainly responsible, but Diocles warns him that his time in Megara will be short. When John’s estranged stepfather, who recently asked him for money, is stabbed to death on John’s property, Georgios, the City Defender, suspects John of the murder. Georgios initiates an investigation that John fears is driven by the man’s ambitions. The death of another person John was on bad terms with makes his position even more tenuous. Placing the lead in jeopardy in an unfamiliar setting makes this one of the more distinctive series entries. (Oct.) (PW)

The eleventh novel is this fine historical series shows the usual careful and extensive research that are hallmarks of this writing team.~~~The plot moves steadily forward, the pages of the novel are thickly peopled with interesting people and readers will enjoy the intimate views and thoughts of both high and low-born citizens. Since followers of the series understand that certain characters, regardless of the negative vicissitudes of life visited upon them, will survive, however there are several likeable and vulnerable characters about whom to speculate. Excellent enjoyable novel. (BuriedUnderBooks)

Unusual locations keep more than one mystery reader coming back for more. Sometimes, protagonists must struggle to make sense of their new environment, which simply adds to the appeal. And sometimes the changes are more psychological than geographical.~~~"Murder in Megara" by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer (Poisoned Pen Press, $26.95, 256 pages) This book, the 11th in the John, the Lord Chamberlain series, finds the protagonist not only in a different venue but in greatly reduced circumstances. (People who work for the Emperor Justinian do not have job security.) Now John has been banished to the Greek city of Megara, not far from the farm where he grew up. When he is accused of murdering his much-loathed stepfather, he has limited options -- and no power.~~~There's a lot of local corruption and power-grabbing among the officials, and no love for John by the populace in general. He turns to two boyhood friends still in the area and finds their lives have gone in unexpected directions.~~~This series has always excelled in melding details of life in the Byzantine era with a murder that needs to be solved, and it does so again. (Goodreads)

About the Author

The husband and wife team of Eric Mayer and Mary Reed published several short stories about John, Lord Chamberlain to Emperor Justinian, in mystery anthologies and in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine prior to 1999’s highly acclaimed first full length novel, One for Sorrow. Entries in the series have been honored by a Best Mystery Glyph Award, an honorable mention in the Glyph Best Book category, and was a finalist for the IPPY Best Mystery Award (Two For Joy), nominations for the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award (Four For A Boy and Five For Silver), and a Glyph Award for Best Book Series (Five For Silver). The American Library Association’s Booklist Magazine named the Lord Chamberlain novels one of its four Best Little Known Series.

Product details

  • File Size: 670 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 146420408X
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (October 6, 2015)
  • Publication Date: October 6, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B013W4BEYQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,012,150 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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