BOOK CLUB: Disappearance of a Scribe

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Disappearance of a Scribe by Dana Stabenow is a historical crime novel. It is a murder mystery set in Alexandria Egypt during the reign of Cleopatra VII.

It is the second book of a trilogy in The Eye of Isis series. The first book is Death of an Eye.
It is not necessary to have read the first book, as any murder mystery stands alone.

Tetisheri is a friend and confidante of Cleopatra. She also is a partner in her Uncle Ned’s import business.
Cleopatra has appointed Tetisheri to be the Eye of Isis ,and she now carries with her the eye, the badge of office. The Eye of Isis basically is the “eye, ear and mouth” of the Ruler of Alexandria and Egypt. It is a very important position, the investigator of crimes.

Tetisheri’s predecessor, Khemit, has been murdered. Tetisheri decides to start her new role by investigating the last case Khemit was working on as it was recorded “unresolved”. She had been looking into the disappearance of Grafeas, aged 18, who went missing on his way home from work.

He was a scribe in his father’s business. Grafeas had been working on half a dozen different cases that were before the courts. His business life and personal life had already been investigated. Tetisheri begins to re-examine and reinterview every one in the file.

It appears other people are also missing.

Another problem Tetisheri needs to solve is the stolen books from the Great Library of Alexandria. The oldest, irreplaceable and most valuable volumes are disappearing.

When a second skeleton is found murdered, by having their feet set in concrete and then dropped into the Mediteranian Sea, Rhakotis sandals as it is called, to identify the remains and find out why they were murdered becomes Tetisheri’s priority.

Her investigation leads her to the building trade. A lot of rebuilding is happening in Alexandria and pozzolan (cement) has to be imported. It is expensive and rare. It is a product she is familiar with as her uncle imports it.

There are twists and turns. Who can Tetisheri trust and is her own life in danger, as she solves these crimes?

I found it a brilliant read. We are taken into the way of life and homes and the day to day living of the people of Alexandria during Cleopatra’s time. The history was fascinating. Especially the support Cleopatra gave towards women in business.

There is a helpful list of characters and a series of maps in the front of the book. Don’t be put off by the long list of characters and complicated names. The story essentially is a basic “who done it murder mystery”.

I will definitely be reading the first book! Thank you to head of Zeus for the opportunity to read this great book.

ISBN: 9781800249752
Copy courtesy of Head of Zeus

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Disappearance of a Scribe by Dana Stabenow. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

4 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Disappearance of a Scribe

  1. Disappearance of a Scribe by Dana Stabenow, is a classic whodunnit/crime novel. An ebook published by Head of Zeus, this is the second book in the Eye of Isis trilogy, but it reads well as a stand alone novel too.

    Tetisheri, friend and confidante of Queen Cleopatra investigates murder when the body of a young man washes up on the shores of Alexandria. His feet have been encased in concrete, and to Tetisheri’s horror, she finds that his is not the only murder committed in this way… As she investigates further, Tetisheri uncovers fraud, conspiracy and threats to the realm.

    A great crime novel with lots of twists and turns, memorable characters and plenty of intrigue. Indeed Disappearance of a Scribe is far more than a simple crime novel. I found it a richly detailed and educative foray into another time, another place, another civilisation . And it is so evocatively done you really feel like you are there in Ancient Egypt, experiencing all the politics and grandeur of Cleopatra’s world.

    Great storytelling, interesting well rounded characters set in a vibrantly described world, who could ask for more?

  2. This books is set in the time of Cleopatra in the infamous city of Alexandria. Not realising this is a second novel in the series I set about reading this and do feel I probably need to go back and read the first novel too.

    The book starts with the death of a scribe and centres on Cleopatra and her Eye of Isis, Tetisheri who is the Pharoh’s friend and detective. Tetisheri is new to the role, which has its challenges and you find out her predecessor was murdered in the previous book.

    This is not your fast-paced action murder mystery but rather goes into more detail of the time and the characters. The relationships, politics and corruption through the plot make for an interesting storyline.

    Disappearance of a Scribe delivers historic details, although not knowing my history for this time period I cannot vouch for accuracy. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Head of Zeus for the chance to read this novel.

  3. Disappearance of a Scribe takes you back to the age of Cesar and Cleopatra, building of a town following the war. Cleopatra keeps closest to her her protector and her investigator (Tetisheri), both friends since she was young.
    Following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Tetisheri is wondering what happened to a scribe who disappeared, the case unsolved. And books from the Alexandria library were also disappearing, these were of historic value, something dear to her heart, could she figure out what was happening here too?
    When a body surfaces from the water (fished out), feet encased in concrete , leaving only a skeleton and an amulet the interests of Tetisheri are peaked. She uses her sources, follows the cues but will this get her murdered too? Who is responsible for the deaths and the book disappearances?
    While I found it difficult to get into the groove of this book, the story is quite sound and the puzzle pulls together nicely. I do wonder if I would have found it easier having read the first in the series, I too have come in part way.
    Thank you to beauty & lace for giving me the opportunity to read it.

  4. It took me a little while to get into this book and was assisted by reading of another book set in Egypt. Once I was able to get into the story though, I was able to enjoy the history and storyline and get into the murder mystery vibe.
    Tetisheri is Cleopatra’s confidante and is tasked with solving the crime of the disappearance of a young man. Tetisheri seeks to work out who the young man was, why his body was found in the river and why he was apparently murdered.
    While I haven’t read the first in this series, I didn’t feel that it was necessary with the storyline as this book was able to stand on its own. Having said that, I would be interested in reading more in this series and thank Beauty and Lace, Dana Stabenow and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read this e-book.

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