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Grave Goods

By Jessica Mann

The coronation of Charlemagne on Christmas day in the year 800 was the central event of the middle ages and altered the history of the world.

One of the sets of his regalia is the subject of Grave Goods. Tamara Hoyland the clever, cool heroine of earlier novels, finds that someone is trying to kill Margot Ellice, a woman who is only interesting for one reason – she is writing about the life of the morganatic wife of a Prince of Horn, in the mid-nineteenth century.

The material is correspondence between her, the former Lady Artemis Bessemer, and her sister Lady Clementine, written from the Horn family palaces in Prussia.

Margot’s book opens with the sentence, ‘Lady Artemis Bessemer was sold by her father to the hereditary prince of Horn in the autumn of 1858.’ Now an exhibition is to come to London from Prussia – a diplomatic gesture by the east Germans. The centrepiece will be Charlemagne’s regalia, which were thought never to have left the Horn palace at Drachenschloss before. But in doing research into the Horn family, Margot seems to have aroused passions, from greed to embarrassment or terror. She will not be the only person to die as desperate attempts are made to discover what really happened to those ancient treasures.

Faced with a complex puzzle, Tamara is at her most impressive in this new adventure, a story of formidable virtuosity, lucidly and elegantly told and leading to a finely ironic conclusion.

Jessica Mann was born in London, England in 1937. She studied archaeology at Cambridge University and Law at Leicester University. Grave Goofd is the third in a series of six novels featuring archaeologist Tamara Hoyland. She contributes reviews and feature articles to many newspapers and magazines, is a regular broadcaster on TV and radio and tours regularly promoting her books at events and festivals. Jessica lives with her husband, an archaeologist, in Cornwall.

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