A missing masterwork in wood, the last creation of a master carver who died in the violent tumult of the sixteenth century, may be hidden in a medieval German castle in the town of Rothenburg. The prize has called to Vicky Bliss, drawing her and an arrogant male colleague into the forbidding citadel and its dark secrets. But the treasure hunt soon turns deadly. Here, where the blood of the long forgotten damned stains ancient stones, Vicky must face two equally perilous possibilities. Either a powerful supernatural evil inhabits this place. . .or someone frighteningly real is willing to kill for what Vicky is determined to find.
I've heard so much about this Vicky Bliss series that when I finally had the chance to pick it up I was almost afraid that my expectations would be too high and I would be disappointed. I'm happy to say that I wasn't. It was a fun, cosy, gothic read, just the kind you pick up when you need a comfort read. The book has very funny quotes as it is written in the first person and Vicky has the kind of self deprecating humour that appeals to me.
Vicky Bliss is an Art Historian; when the story opens she and her boyfriend Tony discover the possible location of an important artistic piece - a shrine - and they become competitors, both setting off for Germany to find it. As soon as they arrive they find that they are not the only ones looking for it, that their chosen place of stay is a gothic castle complete with ghosts and some pretty disagreeable characters and that to find the shrine they have first to solve an old mystery dating back to the 16th century.
However interesting I think it lacked a bit more character development and a better expression of Vicky and Tony's relationship. A friend has already mentioned that this is more of a prequel to the series so that won’t bother me in future books. Other than that I have no real complaints, it's the perfect light mystery to read on a rainy afternoon and close with a satisfied sigh.