The Beads of Lapis Lazuli: A Greek Mystery
Doris Kenney Marcotte
Outskirts Press (2010)
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (12/10)
“The Beads of Lapis Lazuli” is an interesting mixture of adventure, mystery, drama and slightly paranormal experiences involving both past and present. Kathryn Marshall, a rather unexceptional housewife, was strangely drawn to a strand of bright blue beads that she saw in a store window while vacationing in Crete. The old store owner seemed to be convinced that they have met before, yet she was just as certain that this was her first visit to the island. But oddly enough those beads seemed to draw Kate’s attention towards further exploration of Minoan culture, and particularly the ancient story of Ariadne and Theseus.
So Kate decides to write a book about that, and while seeking for the truth, or at least a more logical explanation of how and why Theseus abandoned Ariadne, she finds herself unable to finish the last chapter without returning to Crete and trying to find some answers. The most important people in her life, namely her husband as well as her best friend, are completely opposed to this idea and think that her “obsession” has truly gone too far when she decides to go back to Greece on her own. But for once in her life Kate is adamant not to be the obedient housewife and to do what she feels is needed. Accompanied by a suave and intriguing psychic Jake Deupree, a man well known for helping archeologists locate what they are looking for, Kate returns to Crete and soon finds herself deeply enmeshed in several layers of mystery. Will Kate find her answers? And does she even know what answers she is really looking for?
“The Beads of Lapis Lazuli” has all of the elements of a good mystery that one could wish for, plus a few unexpected ones. The exotic locale of Crete is appealing and quite mysterious once some rather surprising links to the past are revealed. The heroine, Kate, is surprisingly endearing in her quest for the truth as well as her true potential and power, and quite unusual. I do not think I’ve ever “met” a more compelling housewife. Jake is charmingly roguish, but real enough to be appealing. The villains are really, really bad. The good guys are not overly sugary. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing to the very end, and a few of them are truly surprising. The mix of contemporary issues and historic facts as well as fiction makes this book a winning one for a very wide audience. I’ve enjoyed the author’s writing style as well as the fascinating bits of Minoan history strewn throughout the book, and I found myself quite astonished at how many surprises there were revealed in the final chapters of the book. While I liked them all, the very last page of the book was decidedly my favorite. To find out why, you should get a copy yourself and find yourself transported to sunny and sometimes slightly sinister Crete.