Mosaic of Justinian

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  • One For Sorrow
  • Two For Joy
  • Three For A Letter
  • Four For A Boy
  • Five For Silver
  • Six For Gold
  • Seven For A Secret

    Reading Guide to John the Eunuch Series

    Poisoned Pen Press
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  • One For Sorrow
  • Two For Joy
  • Three For A Letter
  • Four For A Boy
  • Five For Silver
  • Six For Gold
  • Seven For A Secret
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  • Doom Cat!! (Play Online)
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  • Five For Silver Jigsaw

    Info about John's religion.

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    In Constantinople the temperature is:

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  • One For Sorrow cover Information on Two For Joy Three For A Letter cover Four For A Boy Cover Five For Silver cover Six For Gold cover Seven For A Secret cover
    One for Sorrow | Two For Joy | Three For A Letter | Four For A Boy |
    Five For Silver | Six For Gold | Seven For A Secret
    The pages above contain links to excerpts from the novels

    This site is no longer being maintained. Please visit us at our new location:

    Mary Reed and Eric Mayer.

    Newest Website Additions

    From the April issue of The Orphan Scrivener
  • Games for the Bored
    by Mary (remembering board games)
  • Chairman of the Board
    by Eric (remembering board games)


    Mary reviews At the Villa Rose by A.E.W. Mason for Steve Lewis' Mystery*File.

    Mary reviews Till The Clock Stops by J. J. Bell for Patricia Abbott's Forgotten Books.

    We were recently interviewed by Jean Henry Mead for her blog Mysterious People.

    Over at Christine Verstraete's Candid Canine, Mary offers a writing tip: Nicknames.

    There's an interviewlette with Mary at Suite 101, as part of Janice Hally's series "The Mysterious Writing Habits of the World's Top Crime Writers."

    Mary writes about oral wills, one of which underpinned the plot of Five For Silver, at Postcard Mysteries , historical-mystery writer Catherine Mambretti's blog about the jury system and courtroom rhetoric.

    Eric writes about researching historicals for Bob Sabella's zine Visions of Paradise. You can find Issue 132 over at the Visions of Paradise page at eFanzines. Or you can download the issue directly. (It's 971 kbs)

    Mary talks about Ethel Lina White's Some Must Watch for the "books you have to read" feature at J. Kingston Pierce's Rap Sheet.

    Mary and I talked to Kim Malo about our books and writing. Which of our characters would we like to change places with for a day? Read our interview at to find out.

    Our interview with Michelle Moran at History Buff concentrates on women of the past, particularly Empress Theodora.

    Mike Glyer interviewed us for his science fiction news magazine File 770. You can download a pdf of issue 153 at eFanzines and read "The Secret History of John the Eunuch."

    more news...

    Other Appearances

    The Mammoth Book of Dickensian Whodunits We're pleased to have a story in Mike Ashley's Mammoth Book of Dickensian Whodunnits (Carroll & Graf in the US and Robinson in the UK). In The Three-Legged Cat of Great Clatterden that jolly fellow with the scientific bent, Samuel Pickwick, investigates an ancient Kentish hill figure and a puzzling disappearance.

    The anthology presents a mix of specially commissioned new stories and lesser known reprints, by writers such as Hilary Bonner, Anne Perry, Charles Todd, Kate Ellis, Alanna Knight, Martin Edwards and Gillian Linscott.

    Our Mongolian detective, Inspector Dorj, is faced with solving a locked circus caravan murder. The new short story "Locked in Death" is included in The Mammoth Book of Perfect Crimes and Impossible Mysteries, an anthology edited by Mike Ashley.

    Byzantium Ablaze Two For Joy has appeared in a Greek edition from Govostis.

    In Byzantium Ablaze. John gets to speak in his native tongue!

    Seven For A Secret is available in a Blackstone Audio edition.

    We're happy to announce that One For Sorrow, Two For Joy, and Four For A Boy have been released in Kindle editions.

    more appearances...

    New Reviews

    Seven For A Secret

    "The authors get everything right in their latest historical. The story is fast paced, the tensions between characters well portrayed; the ending leaves the reader clamoring for more."--Library Journal, 2/2/2008
    Read the whole review.

    "...from brothels to copper markets to public baths and poetry readings, each rife with all the gossip, rumor, deceit and lewdness you'd expect from one of the Lord Chamberlain's cases." -- Kirkus Reviews (4/1/2008)

    "Once again convincing historical detail and strong characterization help drive a riveting plot."--Publishers Weekly, 1/7/2008.
    Read the whole review.

    "This isnít one of those superficial mysteries that use historical trappings to cover up a weak story; itís a compelling crime novel that happens to be set in another time and place." ó David Pitt, Booklist, January 2008
    Read the whole review

    "...full of color and vivid descriptions of the various features and inner workings of what was the capital of the Byzantine Empire"--Eugene Aubrey Stratton
    Read the whole review at

    " many twists and turns as the mean streets of Byzantium." -- Rachel A Hyde
    Read the whole review at

    "Reed-Mayer have done their homework well, bringing sixth-century Constantinople to multi-hued life..."--Barry Baldwin
    Read the whole review

    more reviews of Seven For A Secret...
    More reviews of all the books


    Glyph Awards Five For Silver has won a Glyph Award from the Arizona Book Publishing Association for Best Book Series. The 2005 ABPA awards are for books published during the previous two years.

    FIVE FOR SILVER was nominated for the 2005 Bruce Alexander History Mystery Award .

    more awards...

    Seven For A Secret
    (Now Available)

    Seven For A Secret cover Who killed the mosaic girl? As Lord Chamberlain, John spends his days counseling Emperor Justinian while passing the small hours of night in conversation with the solemn-eyed little girl depicted in a mosaic on his study wall. He never expected to meet her in a public square or afterwards find her red-dyed corpse in a subterranean cistern. Had the mysterious woman truly been the model for the mosaic years before as she claimed? Who was she? Why had she sought John out? Who wanted her dead -- and why?The answers seem to lie among the denizens of the smoky streets of that quarter of Constantinople known as the Copper Market, where artisans, beggars, prostitutes, pillar saints, and exiled aristocrats struggle to survive within sight of the Great Palace and yet worlds distant. John encounters a faded actress, a patriotic sausage maker, a sundial maker who fears the sun, a religious visionary, a man who lives in a treasure trove, and a beggar who owes his life to a cartload of melons. Before long he suspects he is attempting to unravel not just a murder but a plot against the empire. Or is John really on a personal quest, to find the reality behind the confidante he thought existed only in his own imagination? Is there such a thing as truth in a place where people live on memories, dreams, and illusions? Even if there is, can John push aside the shadows and find the truth in time?

    About the Authors
    The husband and wife team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer published several short John the Eunuch detections in mystery anthologies and in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine prior to 1999's highly acclaimed first full length novel, One For Sorrow. Their protagonist's adventures continued in Two For Joy (2000), a Glyph Award winner in the Best Mystery category. Two For Joy also gained an Honorable Mention in the Glyph Best Book Award list and in addition was a finalist for the IPPY Best Mystery Award. Three For A Letter (2001), Four For A Boy (2003), and Five For Silver (2004) followed. The latter two novels were nominees for the Bruce Alexander History Mystery Award. Five For Silver won the 2005 Glyph Award for Best Book Series. In June 2003 the American Library Association's Booklist Magazine named the John the Eunuch novels as one of its four Best Little Known Series. Six For Gold appeared in 2005 and Seven For A Secret in 2008. They are currently writing the as yet untitled eighth novel in the series.

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