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Fans of historical romance and traditional whodunits alike will welcome Phillips's second novel, which like her debut, The Rossetti Letter(2007), alternates between past and present. In the present, historian Clare Donovan, who delved into 17th-century Venetian intrigue with handsome Cambridge fellow Andrew Kent in The Rossetti Letter, is now a temporary lecturer at Cambridge's Trinity College, packed with scheming academics roiling in a hotbed of nearly every human frailty imaginable. When dashing and venal Professor Derek Goodman is found slain clutching a page of a coded diary by 17th-century physician Hannah Devlin, Clare and Andrew get on the trails of vicious killers from different centuries. The mysterious death of Charles II's sister, Princess Henriette-Anne, wife of Louis XIV's dissolute brother, propels the main historical narrative. Phillips's command of period detail and her sure touch with emotional relationships help make this a stand-out. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.