The Vavasour Macbeth by Bart Casey

A cache of Elizabethan documents is found in a tomb, why they are there and what they mean is a mystery. The quest to determine their origins and context takes on new importance when the vicar who found them is murdered. A 16th-century mystery combines with a 20th-century mystery in a wonderful story the merges fact and fiction.

I was captivated by the description before even starting to read and once I started I became fascinated by the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the retelling of 16th-century events, as they related to Anne Vavasour, prior to the occurrence of the 20th-century events at the beginning of each part of the story. It adds context to what is learned about Anne during the investigation. Even tidbits as trivial as how a book cover was made provides clues about how rare it is to find personal documents from that period in time, and why Anne may have kept them.

The characters were engaging. Steven is intelligent, warm and kind. Maggie’s character evolved over the course of the story from mildly abrasive to an appealing, warm character with depth. The villains were utterly repellent…but that’s a good thing…I found their outright smarminess perfect for the story.

My issues with the book are few. There was a bit of retelling of facts and/or events. Also, the backgrounds of characters and their relationships was sometimes provided in long passages, which felt somewhat artificial. This threw the rhythm off and sometimes bogged down the story. 

Overall this was a very educational, entertaining, and enjoyable read.

My thanks to NetGalley and Post Hill Press for the advanced reading copy for my review.

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