In THE DEADLIEST THIEF, the next Miriam bat Isaac mystery, the scribe Esdras swears by Aletheia to have faithfully recorded and sealed in a document the words of the woman who barges into Miriam’s home only to die in her arms. Consequently, Miriam is hurled into a world of treachery, duplicity, and murder. But who was Aletheia?
Aletheia in Greek mythology was the daughter of Zeus who personified the ideals of Truth and Sincerity. Her name literally means “the state of being evident.” In today’s language, we might say her name means “transparency.”
And who is the woman who, in fear of her life, dictated her extraordinary statement to Esdras before arriving on Miriam’s doorstep. Let Miriam describe the woman’s singular entrance:
I stood there as if I’d been punched in the chest. The knocking was so frantic that I bolted out of my study, tore across the atrium, and opened the door.
Clutching the door jamb to recover her balance, gasping for air, she staggered in on rubbery legs until she reached the planters of white chamomiles and yellow field marigolds that edge the skirt of the sunken marble pool.
That’s when, with her back swaying and her arms pinwheeling, her knees gave way, and she plummeted to the floor, a hoarse cry escaping with her shallow exhale.
I knelt beside her, my arm under her shoulders, the crook cradling her head.
She tried to sit up but could only jiggle her legs.
I dropped my ear to her lips.
A guttural mumble.
But she just grabbed at her neck, clawed at her chest, and spurted a rope of vomit.
Her face clenched in horror, she turned her bulging eyes toward her satchel and uttered the word “document” before letting out a ragged gurgle, stiffening convulsively, and passing into eternity.
The poor woman didn’t, of course, but you still have time to read the prequel, THE DEADLIEST FEVER, and prepare Miriam for this, her most surprising mystery yet. But before you do anything else, click here to view the book trailer.