The Eleventh Commandment
Are the strips of ancient parchment delivered to John Sargent, the famous portraitist, forgeries or the last words of Moses, including an eleventh commandant? The so-called Shapiro Scrolls had been declared forgeries by scholars at the British Museum, but then the body of the finder of the documents, Moses Shapiro, is found in a hotel room, a bullet in his head. From this intriguing start, the narrative alternates between Shapiro’s acquisition of the scrolls in 1878 and his subsequent efforts to authenticate them, and the investigation by Sargent and his colleague, Violet Paget, into his death six years later and their struggle to keep the documents safe. Padded with intrusive cameos by famous individuals like Henry James and Oscar Wilde, countless references to archaeologists and biblical scholars, and repeated mentions of famous sites in the Holy Land, the story moves at a sedate pace. The tension picks up towards the end, with the prospect of a pivotal confrontation between rival experts, one for, one against the authenticity of the scrolls. But, like all tales grounded in fact, The Eleventh Commandant is obliged to stay close to the real-world truth, and its ending fizzles out disappointingly.
|Author||Mary F. Burns|
|Page Count||360 pages|
|Publisher||Word by Word Press|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|