Day: January 2, 2014
Ezra Melamed is a Jewish detective in London of the 1800s. In Libi Astaire’s Tempest in the Tea Room, Melamed must discover why otherwise healthy orphans are becoming deathly ill. In this tale, set against the backdrop of London’s Jewish community, complete with jealousy, revenge, unrequited love, and snobbish pretensions, we meet a character who is understated, and at the same time, larger than life.
Astaire does a deft job of describing the social milieu in which a cast of interesting characters act out their roles in ways that sometimes surprise us. She brings the historian’s in depth understanding of the period skillfully together with the hand of a master storyteller to weave a tale that is as intricate as the stitches sewn by the Jewish matriarchs who hold court in their sitting rooms.
I received a free copy of Tempest for review, and while I found the prologue a bit long, once Astaire got revved up, it was worth the wait. Agatha Christie fans will identify with Astaire’s tone and style, but make no mistake – she’s no Christie clone – she’s in a class all her own.