What’s not to love about the title of Soho author R.T. Raichev’s latest book, Murder at the Villa Byzantine? Talk has already started about the novel, well ahead of its mid-April release. Next month’s issue of the Library Journal will review the top-notch mystery, but read on for a taste of the intrigue.
Antonia Darcy and her husband, Major Hugh Payne, arrive at Melisande Chevret’s home ready to celebrate the birthday of a friend. Instead, they find more of the murder and mystery that seem to follow wherever they go. None of the clues lead them to a suspect for certain, though their host seems the most likely suspect. A second murder at the villa from which the novel takes its delicious name complicates things further. Three more suspects appear, including Tancred Vane, the royal biographer and owner of the house who protests his innocence (don’t they all?), the elderly Cathrine Hope who happens to be there helping Tancred with his research, and Tancred’s daughter, most damned of all by the appearance of her monogrammed silk handkerchief found with the body.
If the last bit sounds too convenient to you, kudos. Antonia and Hugh agree and they delve deeper into the goings-on surrounding the beautiful home and the strange people within it. Raichev pairs unusual, yet interesting characters with beautiful settings and the solid writing that has supported his series to this, his sixth book. For those of you looking for a good mystery, Murder at the Villa Byzantine should not be passed up.