RogerBW's Blog

Lilies on Sand, Amelia Ellis 02 June 2023

2011 thriller, second of this ongoing series; translated from the original German by Rachel Ward. A new client brings Nea a complicated multi-stage puzzle…

Though if you've read the first one, the first question will be "where is Emily", and it turns out the great love that ended the first book was just a thing and now a few months later it's over. Which, fair enough I guess, but to have something as significant as that happening outside described time feels as though it's breaking one of the conventions of this kind of series.

Anyway, as before, there's lots of daily life and relationship drama in among the other stuff. The other stuff this time is caused by the client's deceased grandmother, who set up a complicated puzzle to hide something extremely valuable for her granddaughter, but forgot to write down the clues. Which I guess makes more sense than "ancient puzzle left lying about for no particular reason and ignored until now"…

There's a good action sequence in New Mexico, but after that the dashing round the world looking for hidden clues gets outsourced to local talent (budget doesn't seem to be a concern, or all PIs are happy to do favours for a fellow professional). There are multiple factions after the MacGuffin, and they have interestingly different approaches, though its eventual location seems as though it really ought to have been found by some of the searches that had already happened there.

We get a decent bit of amateur cryptography, perhaps a bit less of Nea being awesome than last time, but nothing one can regard as long-term progress. This is categorised as a "lesbian mystery", but if that had been why I'd read it I'd have been disappointed; yeah, there are some lesbian relationships, but they felt to me much more in the sense of "we are not religious fundamentalists so that's just one of the sorts of relationship that's part of the modern world" than "this is the special thing that's the point of the book".

If this had been the first one I read, I don't think I'd have been enthused to read another.

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Previous in series: The Lion's Circle | Series: Nea Fox | Next in series: The Fourth Aspect

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