The Hon. Mr and Mrs Bede Lambton, of Abberton Hall in Worcestershire, persuade their nephew Gregory to enter a competition run by the Syrian Ministry of Tourism. Gregory, a student in the archaeology department of Bristol University, produces a paper called `The Syrian Sapphire', but it is a housemate of his, Sheena Morrison, who submits it in her own name and under a changed title, `The Star of Syria'. The day after being told that her entry has won, Sheena is murdered. There appears to be nothing in Sheena's life or in the competition entry to justify such savage action. Inspector Wickfield and Sergeant Hewitt find themselves baffled by a seemingly motiveless murder. Had the killer mistaken his victim? Was the murder a burglary that had gone wrong? Had the recent theft in New York of the fabulous sapphire known as the Star of India anything to do with the case? You are invited to accompany Inspector Stan Wickfield and Sergeant Hewitt on their grim journey of discovery into the motivation of an astute and determined killer. You will be given every item of information accessible to the investigating team: are you clever enough to read the runes?
Julius Falconer's erudite and sophisticated stories are a byword for urbane and stylish entertainment. In this case you have the added benefit of learning the basics of Syriac, if you so desire!