This is the first book in the Jacqueline Kirby series. Jacqueline is a librarian past her thirties and she solves crimes. At least in the first book she does it a bit reluctantly, at least at first. Unlike the Amelia Peabody series, this book was written in a tight third person point-of-view and Jacqueline wasn’t the POV character. 

The story start when the main character, Jean Suttman and her fellow student Michael run into Jacqueline in one of Rome’s largest libraries. After Jacqueline regains consciousness she’s introduced to Jean’s circle of friends and even though Jacqueline is quite a bit older than them, she seems to fit in quickly. All of Jean’s friends are fellow student-scholars although they are from different fields: archeology, history, sculpting, painting. There is also one member who’s not welcome and who the others are often annoyed with. The group is affectionately called the Seven Sinners.

The group catches some sights around Rome and then Jean finds one of the group’s members almost dead in an underground temple of Mithra. He writes a mysterious symbol, seven, on the floor and dies. The police suspects that it was suicide but soon enough Jacqueline and Jean are convinced that it was murder and that Jean’s life in danger.

The book starts surprisingly slowly; the death doesn’t happen until 80 pages into the book. But once the mysteries start, it moves quickly and cleverly.

I liked this cast of characters more than the one in the Peabody books and I really like Peters’ writing style. She describes Rome very well at least for my Finnish eyes and made me long for Italian pizza and pasta.