An Ezra Melamed Mystery By Libi Astaire (245 Pages)Publisher: Zahav Press, 2011
It is the winter of 1811.
With the excitement of her elder sister s wedding now behind her, a restless Rebecca Lyon is thrilled to visit her dear friend Harriet Franks. But distressing events are about to occur. At a fashionable picture gallery, Mrs. Franks faints while viewing a Rembrandt painting of a groom putting a ruby ring on his bride s finger. Then a suspicious coded message is found in the Mayfair tailoring establishment of Harriet s father, and Mr. Franks is accused of spying for Napoleon.
As Mr. Franks languishes in prison, his distraught wife and daughter seek out Mr. Ezra Melamed, the wealthy widower-turned-sleuth. To his dismay, the one person who could shed light on the matter seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. With only a coded message, the mysterious ruby ring, and a cryptic clue from a Chassidic Rebbe, will Mr. Melamed be able to save Mr. Franks from the hangman s noose?
The Disappearing Dowry, the first book in the Ezra Melamed Mystery Series, won a 2010 Sydney Taylor Notable Book Award. In this second book, acclaimed author Libi Astaire has done it again, painting a vivid picture of Regency England that combines the charm of historical fiction with the intriguing twist of a Jewish mystery.