The Deadliest Lie

Written by June Trop
Review by Viviane Crystal

Miriam, Binyamin, and their father live in 1st-century Alexandria, a city that vacillates between stunning beauty and wealth and harsh cruelty mounting against its Jewish residents. Miriam is resisting the increasing pressure to marry Noah, the son of a wealthy business partner. Her secret passion and dream is to become a reputable alchemist, a dangerous occupation since all who work with the mercury-laden elements are dying from exposure to its poison. When the scrolls she borrowed from Joshua, the bastard she really loves, are stolen, Miriam sets out to recover the priceless documents. At the same time her brother pursues his hope of leaving Alexandria to become a renowned gladiator. Much danger follows as the characters wrestle between embracing traditional roles to please their father and following their dreams.

While the mystery of recovering the missing scrolls fuels the central plot of this mystery, the author provides beautiful descriptions of the architecture, jewelry, food, vegetation, commercial shops, and so much more that clearly defines Alexandria as a vibrant, energetic metropolis. Herein lie the mingling cultures of Greeks, Romans and Jews, and readers will feel like they are really there, walking, eating, and observing what are exotic yet also familiar experiences. Readers will be surprised not only by the shocking discovery of the thief but also by the rapidly appearing tragedies and scenes involving the healing of years of misunderstandings. June Trop is a skilled mystery author who has created memorable characters and a rich depiction of the city known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Finely crafted and fascinating historical fiction!