Ramsay’s mystery series set in Jerusalem in the 1st century CE combines skilled plotting with a lighthearted irreverence and sense of humor—such a welcome sensibility for plunging the reader into this particular time and place. Ramsay does take his fiction seriously; he accurately depicts this world, as well as its engaging denizens.
In this third book of the series, a dead body in the “holy of holies” of the Temple involves events stretching from villages to Pilate’s fortress, to Egypt, Bithynia, and beyond. The “culprit” will sound remarkably familiar to modern minds, despite being an ancient villain. Ramsay’s reluctant “sleuth,” Gamaliel, the rabban of the Sanhedrin (i.e., most important rabbi) conducts his life and detective work within the strict observance of Jewish Law, but without a hint of self-righteousness. His primary assistant is a physician, Loukas, whose training in Greek logic serves as a counterbalance to Gamaliel’s reliance on Torah and intuition.
Without noticing, you’ll find yourself getting a short course in the two main schools of ancient thought. Not to worry, however, you will be having too much fun to notice your mind expanding.