A Bolt from the Blue (A Leonardo da Vinci Mystery)
by Diane A. S. Stuckart
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425232170
Date: 05 January 2010 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Dino has been going through the motions of daily life, living with nightmares, listlessness, and depression since the events of Portrait of a Lady. But that ennui doesn't last long once the master gets his apprentices to prep the chapel for a new mural and calls Dino to work with him on a new invention, a flying machine, for the Duke of Milan. The first order of business is to go to the palace gates and await the arrival of the master carpenter who will be assisting Leonardo with his new project.
The master carpenter turns out to be Dino's father, Angello Della Fazia. The reunion helps to heal the grief Dino has been feeling. Dino's father is careful not to give away the secret that Dino is in reality his daughter, Delfina, not his son. However, on the first day of working with the scale model one of the apprentices is murdered while trying to warn Leonardo of some treachery. Unfortunately, he dies before he can transmit the message and only a handful of Leonardo's sketches clasped in his hand lets them know that a traitor may be among them.
In 1484, the Duchy of Milan is a force to be reckoned with even without Da Vinci's flying machine. However, the rumor of the machine has spread and many of the leaders of other city states would do more than kill an apprentice in order to have the machine, as it would give them a tremendous edge in any war.
Once again, Dino finds herself investigating a mystery. Who killed the apprentice? Who can she trust other than her father and her master? And could it be that one of the apprentices is a traitor? Clues abound as does suspicious behavior. Stuckart manages to keep moving the story along with first one and then another character looking like the likely traitor.
As usual, Stuckart blends historical detail, political intrigue, and a deadly serious mystery into a story that keeps the reader turning pages and trying to pit their wits against the main characters as the plot threads twist and turn.
Having read Portrait of a Lady, I was excited to get the opportunity to review A Bolt From the Blue. I was not disappointed and I doubt any reader would be. The history of the time, and Leonardo Da Vinci as a character, would make the story well worth checking out but adding a devious and clever mystery makes it a must read if you enjoy historical mysteries.