Six for Gold
Six for Gold is Reed & Mayer’s sixth John the Eunuch mystery, set in 6th century Constantinople. John the Eunuch is Emperor Justinian’s Lord Chamberlain. Justinian exiles John to Egypt, because of circumstantial evidence against him for the murder of a Senator, but nonetheless assigns him the task of discovering how the sheep of Mehenopolis’ headman are slitting their own throats. John unquestioningly proceeds to Mehenopolis as soon as he, his wife, Cornelia, and their servant, Peter, arrive in Egypt. From there two stories develop: John’s in Egypt and that of Anatolius, his friend in Constantinople, who searches out the Senator’s true killer. All the pieces fall into place when John solves the puzzle of Mehenopolis’ stone maze.
A maze is a good metaphor for this story. There is a maze of characters – 21 of them at least. Some of their stories go nowhere, while some appear only to solve a glitch in the plot. Many of the scenes fail to connect to the plot. The authors do display a gift for comic characters and funny scenes. These are the bright points in an otherwise unremarkable piece of writing.