The senseless death of his Hertford College, Oxford thesis advisor Thornton Livingston leaves American Ph.D. candidate Keith Jessup stunned. Keith was in attendance to hear the late Early English Literature department Chair provide a lecture, “Secrets of the Milton Manuscript” based on a recently discovered document that explained the great poet’s underlying reason for writing Paradise Lost. Now at the morgue the grieving student identifies the corpse who fell from a cliff. A security guard also was killed; a B&E occurred at the professor’s office; and his lecture missing. Adding to the student’s shock is he inherited Thornton’s estate.
A few months later, now Dr. Jessup is back in New York when Columbia University Professor Stanton disappears just before presenting “The Disclosure of the Milton Manuscript” lecture. As Keith continues to search for the missing document, threats to him and his girlfriend art restorer Joanne Farnsworth mount.
This is a fabulous mystery that is at its best with the deep look into Milton, his beliefs, his era and his masterpieces. The murders of scholars and the assaults on the present day hero add action and suspense, but also detract from the incredible captivating depth into the life and times of John Milton.
This review originally appears in The Mystery Gazette.