Laetitia Talbot is the creation of Barbara Cleverly. Laetitia Talbot, the daughter of a wealthy English family, is a bright, ambitious, young woman bucking the male archaeological establishment of the 1920s. She is well-educated, independent, resourceful, and resilient. In short, Letty Talbot is “thoroughly modern,” that is, outspoken and determined.
In The Tomb of Zeus, Letty comes to the island of Crete to sponsor a dig under the supervision of famous archaeologist Theodore Russell, who is looking for the Minoan tomb believed to have been built for the Greek God Zeus, The King of the Gods. Russell, a difficult, self-absorbed man, takes an instant dislike to Letty and her “know-it-all” ways, but needs her money. Assigning her a crew, he sends her off to an unpromising site to dig.
The mystery begins when Letty discovers the body of Russell’s wife hanging from a beam. Letty simply can’t believe that the happy, free-spirited woman she had befriended killed herself. Then when Russell’s son drives his Bugatti off a cliff, Letty is convinced it was no accident. She teams up with William Gunning, a former Army chaplain invalided in WWI, and they set out to find out what really happened.
Set in 1927, The Tomb of Zeus is a first-rate mystery with a strong sense of history and place.
Note: Although published second, Bright Hair About the Bone is clearly the first book in this series. It is not as tightly plotted as The Tomb of Zeus, but the characterization is good, and it definitely gives you the information you want to have about how Letty became interested in archaeology and how she and William Gunning first met.