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The African Quest: An Archaeological Mystery    by Lyn Hamilton order for
African Quest
by Lyn Hamilton
Order:  USA  Can
Prime Crime, 2001 (2001)
* *   Reviewed by G. Hall

In her latest archaeological mysteries, Hamilton has graduated to hardcover after four previous paperback books. Her stories feature Toronto antiques dealer Lara McClintoch, who travels widely in search of antiques. In The African Quest, McClintoch is leading an antiques and archaeology tour of Tunisia. As usual Hamilton has excelled in creating a very inviting setting. The reader will want to go there in person, to visit the beautiful coast, the Carthaginian ruins and the desert.

Of course, there are several mysterious deaths, which turn out be murders. Hamilton has a long-term amateur interest in archaeology and intersperses just the right amount of information about the Carthaginian civilization and the Punic Wars. She uses the clever device of interweaving an ancient story of a Carthaginian sea voyage with the modern one, and neatly ties them together at the end. There is also an interesting angle involving marine archaeology and the salvage of ancient shipwrecks.

Plotting and character development are not Hamilton's strong suit, but the reader will keep coming back for her settings and the archaeological themes. The author's next book will feature the Etruscans, which should provide us with yet another fascinating foray to a great location and a mysterious ancient culture.

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