The Deadliest Fever: A Miriam bat Isaac Mystery in Ancient Alexandria

Written by June Trop
Review by Vicki Kondelik

After the Torah mantle in Alexandria’s Great Synagogue is vandalized and blood is found on the bemah, Miriam is tasked with the repair of the mantle. Enlisting the assistance of Judah, a renowned jeweler and the man whom she has secretly loved since childhood, Miriam wonders why the mantle would be damaged, yet the precious jewels embedded in it remain untouched. Her suspicions grow when an anonymous note is found warning that the security of the synagogue needs to be increased. Miriam’s investigation leads her from the Great Synagogue to the agora to seedy dockside hostels and back to the Great Synagogue, hunting a thief and murderer all the while wondering if the villain is among those closest to her.

A Miriam bat Isaac Mystery, The Deadliest Fever is the fourth in a series set in Alexandria during the first century CE. Miriam is smart and bold, an easy character with whom to go on an adventure. This is a light mystery and will be enjoyed by fans of the series. Trop provides details to place the reader in the ancient time and place of Alexandria, but on occasion the descriptions become slow. I found myself reading them with great detail expecting a clue but, alas, was disappointed. The mystery was not predictable, nor was it surprising. The fever, which gives the book its title, felt like an add-on, having nothing to do with the mystery at all.