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    Review of NO GRAVES AS YET by Anne Perry (see her website)


    Ballantine Books, September 2003

    In the last days before the outbreak of World War I, England lives in denial. Surely England will not be driven into a war about an Austrian assassination. Surely the bankers will prevent a war that could destroy civilization and be bad for business. Some, though, are taking more active steps--steps designed to ensure the peace no matter what the cost. When John Reavley gets his hands on a secret document that, according to him, would destroy all English honor, he contacts his son in British Intelligence and sets off to meet him. But John and his wife Alys are killed in an apparent accident before they arrive. Sons Mathew and Joseph are left with the mystery of what happened to their parents, what happened to the document, and what secret could really be so destructive to the world.

    Joseph returns to his job as a lecturer at Cambridge University where one of his students is found dead--murdered in his room. Now Joseph has two mysteries to investigate. Oddly, however, the two seem connected. To Joseph, the dead student had seemed a bright beacon for the future, but as he digs deeper, he learns that Sebastian might have stooped to blackmail, intentional cruelty, and stealing another student's girlfriend. Any of those could justify murder, but could they explain the apparently cold-blooded death?

    Author Anne Perry's (see more reviews of novels by Perry) writing evokes an era when the British class system was still in flower, yet when the world is at the cusp of launching into one of the most destructive wars of all time. Her strong narrative style involves the reader, making us care about the characters, especially Joseph, and his attempts to reconcile his faith with the evil that happens. Perry relies a bit too heavily on coincidence and never explains how John Reavley ended up with such a critical document, but most readers will be willing to overlook these flaws due to the interesting picture of the past that Perry delivers.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 10/17/03

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