Digging Up the Dead: A Crispin Leads Mystery:
Digging Up the Dead: A Crispin Leads Mystery
ThirtyNineStars, 259 pages, (paperback) $16.99, 9780999223321 (Reviewed: October 2018)
In the second installment of the Crispin Leads mystery series by Meredith Lee (pen name for Dixie Lee Evatt and Sue Meredith Cleveland), the intrepid NYU graduate student stumbles upon the truth behind a long-standing family secret concerning her mother’s death and the curse of King Tut’s tomb, which claims that those who disturb it are doomed to die.
Crispin, in Egypt pursing studies in ancient burial rites, is a magnet for trouble, which is evident by the novel’s first line: “There is something decidedly off-putting about waking up to the sight of a dog running into your tent with a human hand and forearm dangling out of his mouth.” This is just the beginning, as Crispin travels to London to continue her research among Egyptian archives at the British Library. There, a man has been found crushed to death under heavy boxes, and the files are in shambles.
There is little opportunity to catch one’s breath as Crispin ponders the coincidence of two bodies in two days and discovers among the jumbled files one suggesting much earlier access to Tut’streasures than had previously been thought.
As she pursues this possibility and seeks a connection to the deaths, Crispin’s backstory is revealed through her memories. A young child when her mother, an Egyptologist, was killed in a plane crash, Crispin and her twin brother were raised by her father, an esteemed university professor. In Crispin’s eyes, she is never smart enough or successful enough to please him.
Lee creates credible characters, with enviable strengths and a fair share of foibles. She paints evocative London scenes that are gray and damp, the air almost as tangible as the gritty sand and heat of the Saharan desert.
The closer Crispin gets to proving her theory about Tut’s tomb and its curse, the more dangers she and those around her encounter. The fast-paced narrative will keep readers captivated as two mysteries, not just one, are ultimately resolved—but, happily, not as expected.
Digging Up the Dead: A Crispin Leads Mystery
“Shrouded left me wanting more and Digging Up the Dead delivers. Crispin Leads is back. She’s smart, she’s gritty, and she doesn’t back down as she uncovers the truth behind a series of murders, ancient lies and, ultimately, dark family secrets. The authors had me rooting for her from the first heart-stopping scene to the last heart-breaking moment.”
—Jennifer Love Hewitt, New York Times best-selling author of The Day I Shot Cupid
“Fast-paced and addicting, Digging Up the Dead keeps you on the edge of your seat as Crispin Leads travels back and forth from Egypt, London and New York in search of a connection between a series of murders as well as answers to her life-long insecurities. Author Meredith Lee’s vivid descriptions and extensive knowledge of ancient ruins puts you right there in the middle of the action. I anxiously await the next Crispin Leads mystery. ”
— Kim Brown, Minerva Rising Press
“Crispin Leads is back and Digging Up the Dead does not disappoint. Crossing continents, Crispin is challenged at every turn and readers will keep up the breathless pace along with our smart, savvy heroine. Meredith Lee has done it again, creating a literary page turner that will enthrall fans of Shrouded. A must read. ”
—Bethany Hegedus, award-winning novelist and Creative Director of The Writing Barn
“Compulsively readable, the new installment in the Crispin Leads series is emotionally immersive and thrilling; but, most of all, we get to be with Crispin again. ”
— Katherine Moore, editor and ghostwriter
“Digging Up the Dead dazzles with its intricately crafted narrative and luminous language. The fearless Crispin Leads negotiates uncertain terrains confronting a shadowy and powerful conspiracy involving Egyptian treasures. It’s an exhilarating and compelling read that leaves me wanting more.”
— Gloria Amescua, award-winning writer and poet
DIGGING UP THE DEAD is a Finalist in the 2018 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest
SHROUDED: A CRISPIN LEADS MYSTERY
“Shrouded” is a masterfully written mystery novel, powered by well-developed characters and a sophisticated plot. Who stole the Shroud of Turin, and what do they want with it? And who kidnapped our favorite nun, Sister Mary Llewellyn? Crispin, our anxiety-ridden but determined young sleuth, is on the case.”
—David Aretha is an award-winning author
“Shrouded” is a really fabulous international jet-setting story with smart writing and a compelling plot. I enjoyed it thoroughly…”
— Sam Bond is an award-winning author
“When Crispin Leads goes to the Vatican to explore funeral rites she finds herself in a devilish world of intrigue. . . . Crispin must see through the shrouds many use to hide the heartfelt wounds that define us. Shrouded is a contemporary thriller that speaks to the mind and heart of its readers.”
—Bill Johnson is author of A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling
“Crispin Leads is a heroine I can get behind: bold, brilliant, empathetic and intelligent. Traversing Turin and the Vatican Shrouded’s heroine will leave you breathless. It’s the mystery, not a man, that Crispin is out to solve.”
—Bethany Hegedus is an award-winning novelist and Creative Director of The Writing Barn
“In SHROUDED, debut amateur sleuth Crispin Leads finds herself on a pulse quickening, brainteasing adventure in the style of The DaVinci Code. Crispin must go undercover, steal secret computer information, and stop an international conspiracy by combining travel, history, and cutting edge science. Move over Dan Brown!”
—Manning Wolfe – Texas Lady Lawyer Series
“I could not put “Shrouded” down. It had all the right things I want in a mystery novel, adventure, intrigue, and a driven, interesting female protagonist. Crispin is a role model for us all- persistent and smart as a whip. She made me keep turning the pages. Much like the Dan Brown books, “Shrouded”, gives us new insight into religion and its inner workings and it left me wondering and thinking about many aspects of the Catholic church. This is the kind of book that makes you just want more. I can’t wait for more of Crispin and her adventures.”
— Katherine Moore- Editor and Ghostwriter
“Shrouded is well written, tightly plotted, and grabbed my interest. It would make a great film.”