The It is the winter of 1811. With the excitement of her elder sister’s wedding now behind her, a restless Rebecca Lyon is thrilled to visit her dear friend Harriet Franks. But distressing events are about to occur. At a fashionable picture gallery, Mrs. Franks faints while viewing a Rembrandt painting of a groom putting a ruby ring on his bride’s finger. Then a suspicious coded message is found in the Mayfair tailoring establishment of Harriet’s father, and Mr. Franks is accused of spying for Napoleon.
As Mr. Franks languishes in prison, his distraught wife and daughter seek out Mr. Ezra Melamed, the wealthy widower-turned-sleuth. To his dismay, the one person who could shed light on the matter seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. With only a coded message, the mysterious ruby ring, and a cryptic clue from a Chassidic Rebbe, will Mr. Melamed be able to save Mr. Franks from the hangman’s noose?
The Disappearing Dowry, the first book in the Ezra Melamed Mystery Series, won a 2010 Sydney Taylor Notable Book Award. In this second book, acclaimed author Libi Astaire has done it again, painting a vivid picture of Regency England that combines the charm of historical fiction with the intriguing twist of a Jewish mystery.