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Sonnet of the Sphinx Hardcover – Large Print, September, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Poetic Death Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Following High Rhymes and Misdemeanors, this pleasant if tepid installment in the Poetic Death saga starring unlikely lovers Grace Hollister, a literature teacher, and former jewel thief Peter Fox, offers generous portions of murder and mayhem without losing the composure of a traditional cozy. On the same day that Grace finds a clue to a missing work by the famed Romantic poet Shelley, Peter, now an antiques dealer, is visited by blackmailer Hayri Kayaci, a man who helped Peter escape from a Turkish prison before he went straight. Kayaci is soon murdered, as is the town's mysterious new librarian. Detective Inspector Drummond, a recent transfer to remote Innisdale, is convinced that Grace is guilty despite several attempts on her life. Undeterred, Grace continues to probe historical records, old rumors and odd townspeople in search of the Shelley sonnet. Though involving, the murder mystery generates only mild suspense, as villain and victims are minimally developed. Instead, it is the appealing summertime setting of Britain's Lake District, the enigmatic relationship between Grace and Peter and the possibility of a second suitor that give the book its charm. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Diana Killian is the author of High Rhymes and Misdemeanors (available from Pocket Books). She also wrote The Art of Dying and Murder in Pastel under the pseudonym Colin Dunne. She is coeditor of the anthology Down These Wicked Streets, and the founder of the Wicked Company writers' community for mystery and crime writers. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Visit her website at www.girl-detective.net. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: Thorndike Mystery
  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press (September 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078628949X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786289493
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,119,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebecca L. Myers on March 6, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If three's a charm, then Diana Killian's third installment in the Poetic Death Series, Sonnet of the Sphinx, is just that.... A charm!

While sorting through some old books and papers at Rogue's Gallery, Grace stumbles upon an old love letter written in 1943 by a man named John Mallow. The letter hints of an unknown sonnet by poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Realizing the significance of this find, Grace attempts to share her enthusiasm with Peter, who only wishes to tease and poke fun. During some light hearted banter between the two, a ghost from Peter's past enters the gallery and immediately the mood is changed. The mysterious stranger is Hayri Kayaci, a policeman from the Turkish prison where Peter had spent some time. He has come to claim something he feels Peter owes him and if he doesn't get it, he's going to extradite Peter back to Turkey. Grace fearing for Peter, tries to come up with a plan to help him but Peter assures her that it will be taken care of. A few days later, Kayaci turns up dead with Grace and Peter becoming the prime suspects. Thus begins this fast paced mystery, complete with shadowy figures in the night, some very amusing and colorful characters, death threats on Grace's life, cover ups, a relentless detective determined to pin the murder of Kayaci on Peter, some surprising discoveries, a little romance and an ending that will shock you! Sonnet of the Sphinx is jam packed with heart pounding action and nail biting suspense! Hang onto your book and get ready for the ride of your life!

The dialog is witty and fun. The events may seem far-fetched and out of the ordinary but if the book was ordinary, it wouldn't be worth reading. Ms. Killian is an accomplished story teller with a knack for wit and creativity when describing a feeling or situation.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ever since I read 'Verse of the Vampyre', with its tantalizing excerpt from 'Sonnet of the Sphinx', I've been waiting impatiently for the rest of the story. And not because I care overmuch about the possibility that there's a lost sonnet by Shelley floating around somewhere. Though I admit that treasure-hunting is fun, what I really wanted, was to know the details of the Istanbul-affair, the one that landed Grace's boyfriend Peter in a Turkish jail for fourteen months. After two books full of hints, I wanted answers, and I wanted them now!

The books starts with Grace finding an old letter mentioning the unknown Shelley sonnet. Hard on the heels of that, Harry, an acquaintance of Peter's from his stint in Turkey, shows up, and threatens to have Peter extradited. Then Harry turns up dead, and naturally, Peter is at the top of the suspect list. Grace is not safe from suspicion herself, however, after Scott Sartyn, the new head librarian, accuses her of going through the dead man's pockets. (No, she didn't. Really. And Sartyn shouldn't really be talking anyway, since he knew Harry from before and is trying to keep it quiet. With good reason.) While Peter is out of town, someone forces Grace's car off the road and into the lake, and then someone sets fire to her cottage. Then Scott Sartyn ends up dead. And woven through the whole intricate web is the mystery concerning the soldier who was in possession of the Shelley-sonnet back in 1943. What happened to him? Did he desert? Was he - and the sonnet - blown to smithereens by a bomb while on leave? Did he really run away with his girlfriend's sister, or was someone else to blame for his disappearance? And for that matter, is the sonnet still around somewhere, and can Grace and Peter find it?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rogue's Gallery has just bought a farmhouse full of antiques. While Grace and Peter are sorting through the items, Grace stumbles on a letter referring to a previously undiscovered sonnet by Percy Shelley. Naturally, this peaks Grace's interest. Unfortunately, the letter was written during World War II, and the writer disappeared right after writing it. Further complicating the search, the antiques' owner demands them back because he didn't intend to sell them.

As if that weren't enough, Peter's past comes walking right into Rogue's Gallery. Hayri Kayaci was a guard in the Turkish prison where Peter spent some time. Now he's back, demanding an item Peter doesn't know how to locate and threatening to use the extradition papers he brought with him if Peter doesn't cooperate.

When Hayri is found murdered after a concert at the local park, Grace's relief for Peter is short lived. They are the top suspects in the case, and the new inspector in the village won't leave them alone. Meanwhile, Grace is hot on the trail of the missing sonnet, or at least piecing together the life of the man who discovered it sixty years before. If she can just figure out who is trying to kill her, life could be perfect.

Fans of the series will enjoy the latest entry. This story has several different mysteries tangled together, the sonnet, the murder, and the letter writer's disappearance. We even get a little more about Peter's past. The story is ultimately satisfying, but the pace is slightly off, slowing down at times in the middle. Overall, this is a minor complaint.

The characters continue to grow.
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