The Eloquence of Blood

Written by Judith Rock
Review by L.K. Mason

The Eloquence of Blood opens on Christmas Eve in Paris of 1686. Against a backdrop of a harsh winter, ex-soldier and now-Jesuit scholar Charles du Luc is struggling with issues of his faith and the more mundane worries of his college’s financially precarious situation. When hope dawns in the form of an expected donation, someone else appears to have equal claim on this fortune. Murder complicates the situation, and du Luc is called upon to solve it, as the public suspects that something less than holy is at work, and anti-Jesuit violence grows.

Rock provides meticulous details of everyday life across various social classes with an engaging style; the touches of humour and insight into the creativity of Jesuit scholars and their involvement in dance and plays are particularly welcome as a contrast to some of the grim realities of poverty and illness. This is the second mystery featuring du Luc, the first being The Rhetoric of Death. It isn’t necessary to have read the first to find oneself quickly pulled into du Luc’s world, however, as Rock skilfully weaves information throughout that hints at the first book and du Luc’s past. In du Luc, Rock has created a highly likeable scholar-detective. I hope that his adventures will play out for many books to come.