Keith Jessup, a graduate student at Oxford, is working on a PhD in English literature. He is studying John Milton. His professor, Thornton Livingston, is one of the foremost authorities on Milton and his masterpiece, Paradise Lost. When Professor Livingston fails to appear at a lecture that he was to deliver at Cambridge, Keith is worried. When the police discover the professor’s body in a ravine near his car, Keith is sure that the death was not accidental. The professor was about to present his findings about a newly discovered manuscript offering Milton’s interpretation of the poem. Further investigations reveal that Livingston’s home had been ransacked and his lecture notes are missing. Keith is determined to carry on the professor’s work, but he soon finds that the research will endanger his life. It seems that Milton’s theology is based on Jewish law as well as the New Testament, and some scholars do not want this information revealed. The author, a dentist who also writes plays and lyrics, has done a great deal of research on Milton to create this literary mystery. He provides references and a discussion guide for reading groups. This book will appeal to readers who enjoy historical mysteries and English literature. Fans of The Da Vinci Code will be pleased to discover something that is well written. There is plenty of material for book clubs to discuss as well.
This review appeared in the AJL Reviews September/October 2015 issue.