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A Fly Has A Hundred Eyes (Lily Sampson Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
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In this time of chaos, Baron reveals the ways British control over their Palestinian Mandate is weakening. Her characters are drawn from the competing groups - a Kibbutzim Jew, Irgun arms smugglers, Arab Palestinians, the Grand Mufti al-Husseini encouraging insurrection, Nazi sympathizers, various members of the British community, and, in the midst of all, archaeologists. A naive young American, Lily Sampson, is a member of the latter group. When her mentor, the celebrated British archaeologist Geoffrey Eastbourne, is murdered and an ancient vial of importance to her disappears, she finds that given the indifference of the British authorities she must seek answers to the crimes herself. With this decision, her political awakening begins. Forced to confront the regions tensions and secrets, Lily also faces the ways she has been used even by those close to her.
Baron's lengthy descriptions of the people, places and diverse cultures in 1938 Palestine are rich additions to the plot. Her background as an archaeologist who has worked in the Middle East lends particular credibility to the scholarly dialogues and details of the excavations. Some historic characters such as Lawrence of Arabia and the influence of American philanthropers, such as John D. Rockefeller, are mentioned, as is background to the reasons behind the struggle for the Middle East. Baron deals with gender by showing that although Lily's blond beauty allows her access in some areas, being young and female limit her in others.
There is a brief glossary of the terms used at the end.
Aileen Baron is an author of archeological mysteries and A FLY HAS A HUNDRED EYES relates the tale of the murder of a British archaeologist in 1938 in British mandated Palestine. Baron has not missed a single beat in creating one of the more intense and compelling mysteries out today - from the cover art of a Jerusalem building flying both the British and the Nazi flag to the title whose importance is not appreciated until well into the book. The time is 1938, and war in Europe is a burgeoning threat, terrorists threat the dominion over Palestine held tenuously by the British, and there is tension in the streets between Arabs and Jews, tension that erupts into street riots and murders. An American graduate student, Lily Sampson, is staying in the beautiful YMCA when not with the British archeologist Geoffrey Eastbourne on a dig. The book opens tranquilly but soon the schism between the terrorists and the British who are gradually losing control over Palestine. Couple that with the theft of an amphoriskos Lily has uncovered and the murder of Eastbourne, and Lily turns to the military attaché of the American consulate to investigate the theft and the murder.
Baron increases the credulity of her mystery in using well known people from life - TE Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), John D. Rockefeller in addition to populating her tale with characters including orthodox Jews, Irgun arms smugglers, Arab Palestinians, the Grand Mufti el-Husseini encouraging insurrection, Nazi sympathizers, and the British. It makes for a bubbling brew that holds the reader in its grasp until the ending. There is more to learn here about the long lasting Middle East crises we all are feeling right now, the Gaza Strip fighting and the ongoing disparity between the Palestinians and the (now) Israelis. It is not only a brilliant mystery - it is a fine history lesson. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, July 14
Lily Sampson is an American archaeologist, who divides her time between the excavation spots and Jerusalem. The first chapter begins quietly but ends with her witnessing the sponsored riot that claims the lives of acquaintances. She barely recovers from the painful memories of that fateful day, when the director of the dig, celebrated British archaeologist Geoffrey Eastbourne, is murdered in cold blood. What puzzles her more are the loss of an ancient glass vial, the sudden appearance of Eastbourne's strange journal and the reluctance of the British police to bring the culprits to book.
As she sets out to solve the mystery of the missing blue glass amphoriskos and finding the suspected killer Abu Musa, she meets a variety of local and foreign characters including an American doctor involved in arms smuggling, a Nazi spy, Samaritans and British officers. Older acquaintances including Jamal, an Arab doctor who works as a cook at the dig, and Avi from the Kibbutz near the excavation site flit in and out of her life as she grapples with the changed realities and mounting dangers.
The book captures well the political turmoil and weakening British control over the Palestinian mandate. It underscores Lily's naivety as she becomes a pawn of war games, deceit and betrayal. The descriptions and detailing add to the plot. While Lily's instant love affair and abrupt behaviour patterns are a bit jarring, they don't deter from the smooth flow of the narrative and the story line.
It starts out slow but turns out really to move really fast. I was glued to my seat after the first chapter. It was an absolute pleasure to read. I can’t to wait read the next book by this author. I hope this author will write a series of dig mysteries. I think that would be really neat.
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