THE LOST SHRINE
Genre: Thriller/Mystery/Women Sleuth
Publication Date: 23 May 2019
Hardback Page Count: 318 pages
Clare Hills, archaeologist and sometime sleuth, is struggling to finance her recently established university research institute along with her long-time friend, Dr David Barbrook. When Professor Margaret Bockford finds the Hart Unit commercial work with a housing developer on a site in the Cotswolds, the pair are hardly in a position to refuse. There is just one slight catch: the previous site director, Beth Kinsella, was found hanged in a copse on-site, surrounded by mutilated wildlife. Despite initial misgivings, Clare leads a team to continue work on the dig, but with rumours about Beth's mental state and her claims that the site was historically significant refusing to be laid to rest, and lingering disquiet between local residents and the developers, progress is impeded at every turn. When one of the workers finds something unsettling, Clare suspects there may be more to Beth's claims than first thought. But can she uncover the truth before it is hidden for ever?
The Lost Shrine is the second book in this series and, like the first book, The Hidden Bones, there is an enticing blend of murder mystery, archaeological digs and finds, mixed with perils and hazards for our protagonist Clare. Some mentions of the last outing are made but there are no spoilers, so it can be read as a standalone.
There's something about digging in the soil looking for ancient artefacts that haven't seen the light of day for many years that I find absolutely appealing ...... combined with an unlikely (and likeable) amateur archaeological sleuth - and with my two favourite genres of mystery and history - this all makes for the perfect series for me.
This time, Clare and her colleague David have taken over a dig site that's proving unpopular with the locals, there's pressure from an arrogant house building developer to hurry the dig along, issues with illegal metal detectorists, a local druid who's following the developments and an exciting find, not to mention a dead body.
Author Nicola Ford's writing was a pleasure to read, her obvious knowledge of archaeology is evident throughout this engrossing thriller, her characters are well-developed, the storyline was well-paced and believable with a surprise or two, and I loved all the references to the archaeological process and the discoveries.
I can't wait to see where Clare and David are taken next and what they're going to unearth!
My thanks to publishers Allison & Busby for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.
About the author
Nicola Ford is my pen-name. I’m also Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. Through my day-job and now my writing, I’ve spent more time than most thinking about the dead.
My writing brings together the worlds of archaeology and crime, unravelling the tangled threads left behind by murder to reveal the stories of those who can no longer speak for themselves.
You can read my review of the first book in the series The Hidden Bones here - buy it from Amazon UK - Amazon US - Book Depository
Don't miss this - from the 29th May till the 5th June The Lost Shrine is on offer!