Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review: The Scroll by Anne Perry

The Scroll that comes out today, is an eBook short mystery that’s full of intrigue, big questions and quite a bit of personal drama.

It all begins when Monty Danforth, a man who works in an antiquarian shop in Cambridge, starts unpacking and cataloguing the books delivered to him in crates by the Greville estate. Among the things that he uncovers is a mysterious scroll that seems to be written in Hebrew.

At first he doesn’t seem to know what to make of it since he can’t understand a word of the language it is written in but apparently someone else does, since before too long an old man, who claims to be a collector, arrives accompanied by a young girl. The man offers to buy the scroll straight away but Mr. Danforth refuses to grant him his wish, since he wants to have it evaluated first.

The visitors depart, promising to come back at a later time, but not before warning him that the scroll could prove to be quite dangerous because of its contents. What did they mean by that?

“Ha had always had a weird imagination, a sensitivity to the presence of evil. He told the most excellent ghost stories to the great entertainment of his friends. He was known for it, even loved. People liked to be given a frisson of fear, just enough to get the adrenalin going.”

Well, now he feels that kind of fear taking abode in his very soul, and he doesn’t know how to appease it. He knows that he needs to solve the mystery surrounding the scroll but would that prove enough?

In the end he has no choice so he decides to ask for the help of his good friend, Hank Savage, a pragmatic scientist, thus someone who doesn’t share his beliefs of the supernatural. Hank will offer him a helping hand but just by pointing out that the text on the scroll is written in Aramaic and not in Hebrew. Apart from that he can’t tell anything much since he only understands a few words of that long lost language.

So, where is he supposed to turn to now? That would be the million dollar question if two new ones didn’t arise in a brief period of time: Why are the church and a scholar of sorts interested in the scroll? And how did they, just like the old man, come to know about it?

As the story moves on the mystery deepens and the end comes with a bang that may solve a part of the riddle but gives birth to new questions in the mind of the reader.

Anne Perry delivers a well-written story, with a great plot and a few fascinating characters that drive the narrative from peak to peak. If you love mysteries you will love this short foray into the genre.

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