Heart of the Nile by Will Thomas

Heart of the Nile (Barker & Llewelyn, #14)

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: Barker and Llewelyn #14
Publication Date: 4/11/23
Period: Victorian London – 1893
Number of Pages: 320

What do you get when you combine murders, Cleopatra’s mummy, a huge ruby, a street gang, a highly distraught widow, and two excellent enquiry agents? A very good mystery! This author just churns out great mystery after great mystery and I never tire of reading them.

It is rapidly approaching the beginning of the new year and cases are few because of the holidays. A distraught young woman comes into their offices and requests they find her husband who is missing. He teaches school during the day and works as a volunteer at the British Museum until midnight. Except – he didn’t come home last night.

Phillip Addison is a wonderful young man who defied his very rich family for love. His teaching job just doesn’t support him and his wife, so he is working as a volunteer at the British Museum in hopes of turning it into a paying position. While going about his tasks of classifying, weighing, and storing a number of Egyptian mummies, he makes a startling discovery. Deep in the chest cavity of one of those mummies is a large ruby that would be priceless. In his excitement, he runs out of the museum with the ruby (to show his boss) – only to realize a few minutes later that he’s now locked out – with a giant, priceless ruby in his possession. Oops! His body is found the next morning floating in the Thames.

Barker and Llewelyn’s missing person case has morphed into something much larger and deadlier. Everyone is now trying to recover, for themselves, the item Phillip found. Where is it? What is it? Everybody knows he found something, but nobody knows what.

Everybody believes that Barker has whatever they are looking for – but does he? They’ll do whatever they have to do to get it from him. Bribery, threats, trickery, attempts on his and Llewelyn’s life – it is all tried to pry the item’s location from Barker.

This was a great mystery, but I was pretty sure I knew who the villain was early on. However, there were so many red herrings thrown it that it kept me from being sure until the very end. It wouldn’t have mattered if the name of the villain(s) had been plastered in large red letters on the first page of the book – the story was so good I would still have loved it.

My only complaint is that this tale broke my heart. Being a soft-hearted romantic, I could hardly stand the idea that such a lovely young man was murdered and two people who truly loved each other were torn apart. Please, Mr. Will Thomas, don’t let me get to know and like a character and then kill them off.

I can definitely recommend this entertaining, well-crafted mystery. I love how the characters have grown through the series. Another thing I like about the series is the point of view. It is written from Llewelyn’s POV – as if he is writing his memoirs years later.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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