A historical murder mystery set in Prussia in the early 1800s.
Prussian Magistrate, Hanno Stiffeniis is called in by the French authorities to investigate, a gruesome murder of an amber girl. The amber girls collect amber from the Baltic shore, a commodity much craved for by the French to support their war in Spain.
Amber is also much sought out by scientists for the inclusions of insects and other creatures which might give insight into the whole process of Creation. One collector might stop at nothing to get their grasping hands on such amber pieces.
The historical aspect of the novel is better than the mystery. The descriptions of daily life and the practice of medicine in Napoleonic times are fascinating as too are the many descriptions of amber, its properties and the way it is sought and desired. The mystery is rather transparent, a Cadfael or a Hercule Poirot would have cracked it long before our lumbering Hanno Stiffeniis. Stiffeniis was a student of Kant in Koenigsberg, but that connection isn’t essential to the story, it seems more like a celebrity name-drop.
My rating 4 out of 5