What's New At?

The Orphan Scrivener.
Issue 56 of our newsletter

Eric's Blog
Ramblings and links

Poisoned Pen Press
Our publisher.

The News
On the writing front.

Other Appearances
Interviews, stories, essays
in anthologies etc.

May 2008

Seven For A Secret

"The city and its citizens are well drawn and provide a good backdrop to John's investigation...Seven for a Secret should satisfy not only fans of historical mysteries but also those seeking an interesting story in an unusual setting." --Betty of The Betz Review
Read the whole review at Mysterious Reviews.

"...I felt as though I was there. By the end I knew the place. The city itself is a character and as much a suspect as everyone else. I understood the constant struggle to survive but also the search for meaning and a spiritual base so many of these characters, and indeed the city itself, longed for."--Devorah Stone
Read the whole review at I Love A Mystery.

"...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 reviewingtheevidence.com.

April 2008

Seven For A Secret
"...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)

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

One For Sorrow

"The twists and turns of the plot are skilfully constructed, and the writing is highly readable. Fans of Lindsay Davis and Stephen Saylor in particular are in for a treat when they discover the work of this talented husband and wife team." -- Martin Edwards (Author of the Harry Devlin Mysteries)
Read the whole review at Tangled Web UK.

February 2008

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.

January 2008

Seven For A Secret
"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

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

"John's investigation is clever and fun to follow, but like the previous six numbered tales, it is the insightful look at ancient history that makes SEVEN FOR A SECRET (and its predecessors) a great reading experience.....Ancient historical mystery readers know the John the Eunuch tales are one of the best series on the market..." --Harriet Klausner.
Read the whole review.


Mammoth Book of Dickensian Whodunnits
"...an interesting and eclectic mix of styles and ideas, sure to appeal to Dickens fans and anybody else who enjoys historical crime fiction set during the 19th century....Among the more impressive offerings are Mary and Eric Mayer's very authentic and witty Pickwickian tale..." -- Rachel A. Hyde
Read the whole review at MyShelf.com.

June 2006

Six For Gold
"The mystery is serious but the characters are highly amusing. Overall, I read the book with a sense of gentle hilarity throughout." -- Joyce Crane
Read the whole review in the Cozies, Capers & Crimes Newsletter.

March 2006

Six For Gold
"The plot is delightfully complex and multi-facetted. The authors present a very credible picture of life in this time and setting. There are, as always, many fascinating characters and complex interactions among them with various driving forces coloring these interactions. We rated this mystery five hearts." -- Bob Spear.
Read the whole review at Heartland Reviews.

February 2006

Six For Gold
"Political maneuvering, religious fervor, superstition, extortion, deception, compulsive gambling, and betrayal are widespread in all of human history. The extensive research done by Reed and Mayer into the time and place for their story pays off in spades. Although separated by more than a millennium from the characters in the story, present day headlines and scandals seem close at hand..". --Woodstock for Crimespree.

January 2006

Six For Gold
"Another terrific installment in the John the Eunuch series...John is a likeable hero and the supporting characters are quirky and wonderful."-- Andrea Maloney, Dorothy L.
Visit Andrea's website: Lochthyme Antiques

"...another strong entry in this fascinating series. Lighter than most, it still has all the intriguing and exotic local and historical detail as the previous five novels. ... the pace is quick, the writing graceful, whetting the reader's appetite for more of John's adventures."--Mark Terry,The Oakland Press (1.8.2006)-
Mark Terry is the author of Dirty Deeds. Visit his website.

"Straightforward writing, not getting in the way of the story because it's self-consciously literary or clunky ... the writers clearly do their research and bring their time to life, but don't rub your nose in it. Their people *live* it, they don't lecture it."-- Kim Malo, assistant moderator on the Crime Through Time discussion list and webmistress for the affiliated website.

"...plenty of local color, painlessly delivered historical details, well-drawn characters ...another fine read." -- Shirley H. Wetzel.

"... filled with comic touches...Fans of historical mystery will definitely want to grab this latest in the John the Eunuch series."--Rob Preece, BooksForABuck.com.
Read the whole review at BooksForABuck.com.

"The John the Eunuch mysteries are always a joy and this one is no exception. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. " - William J. H. Reed, I Love A Mystery Newsletter.
Read the whole review in the I Love A Mystery Newsletter

December 2005

Six For Gold
"John the Eunuch is an original and captivating detective who will become one of your favorite characters."--Nancy Mehl, MyShelf.com.
Read the whole review.

November 2005

Six For Gold
"...brings to life an era of Egypt that is rarely written about...full of history and that dash of humour that resonates throughout the whole series..." -- Ayo Onatade, reviewingtheevidence.com
Read the whole review at reviewingtheevidence.com

"...a plot with more turns than a rambling brook. Suspense reigns and excitement runs alongside." -- Mary Ann Smyth.
Read the whole review at BookLoons

"John remains enigmatic and melancholy as ever... He is certainly one of the most tantalising and readable sleuths around, and he provides grounding to some of the more giddy characters and flights of plotting fancy that makes the story all balance out so nicely....Another pleasing, well plotted and historically evocative delight. "-- Rachel A. Hyde, MyShelf.Com.
Read the whole review at MyShelf.com.

October 2005

Six For Gold
"...Six For Gold, is as aureate as its title...The dungeon encounter between John and the malevolent empress is one of the most genuinely blood-curdling chapters I have read in years. As always, there are many rib-ticking jokes ... and the mastery of Byzantine 'Realia' is as impressive as ever." -- Barry Baldwin, Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Calgary,
Read the whole review.

"...[a] gripping foray into classical antiquity..." Lynne Maxwell, Mystery Lovers Bookshop News
Read the whole review.

"...the series shows no signs of slowing down. As usual the authors write precisely and gracefully, maintaining a perfect balance between historical atmosphere and old-fashioned mystery. The setting, sixth-century Byzantium, is still fresh, still full of wonders and weirdness. And, like Lindsey Davis' Falco series, there's an agreeable mixture of drama and comedy. Fans of the series will be overjoyed." --David Pitt, Booklist (10/01/05)

"A busy historical mystery with an engagingly wry tone. Many detours, but getting there is most of the fun."--Kirkus Reviews (10/01/05)

September 2005

Six For Gold
"... captivating sixth John the Eunuch novel... Filled with quirky characters...this fresh entry with its intriguing details of Egyptian culture reveals further depths to the most clever John and his family members." --Publishers Weekly (9/16/05)

"...a fabulous historical mystery that showcases an era when Christianity and paganism battle for supremacy. The vivid story line brings to life an area of Egypt rarely if ever used in novels so that the audience obtains an even greater taste of the true first "world war" fought over religious principles. John is a terrific protagonist struggling to solve the case of the suicidal sheep even as he ponders what will happen to him and his family once he returns home...Mary Reed & Eric Mayer once again make the John the Eunuch mysteries one of the best historical tales on the market today." -- Harriet Klausner
Read the whole review.

July 2004

Five For Silver
"...blends excellent historical setting with a fast-paced, very different plot."
From the Midwest Book Review.
Read the whole review.

"John the Eunuch is one of the most entertaining of the historical mystery series being written today."
--Rob Preece
Read the whole review at BooksForABuck.com.

"The authors never seem content simply to present a dilemma and then give us a resolution. They weave and interweave their plot, sub-plots and counter-plots. They ensure that we are subtly, yet consistently immersed in the times. Occasionally humorous, sometimes metaphysical but never boring, the Reed/Mayer books are a must read for those interested in historical mysteries and particularly with the history of this era."
--Ilysa Magnus
From Historical Novels Review, published by the Historical Novel Society.

June 2004

Five For Silver
"Reed and Mayer have created a fascinating series that gives us insight into both a time period and a lifestyle that most of us know nothing about. John is a witty detective who has the ability to move seamlessly between the levels of society that rule the lives of all in this time and, lacking all of the modern aides to detection that we take for granted, has to use all the deductive talents he can muster to find a killer against almost impossible odds. This series is a delight for anyone who enjoys both history and a hero who has to use only his own skills to solve the mystery."
--Kathy Thomason
owner of the Booksnthyme Bookstore and reviewer for The Amplifer (Kentucky) and the Murder and Mayhem list.

May 2004

Five For Silver
"If you can find all the books in the series, do so. If not, don't wait. Start with FIVE FOR SILVER -- you can always go back and read the first four. And you will want to."
--Barbara Franchi
Read the whole review at Reviewing the Evidence.

"The authors do a wonderful job of drawing the reader into a setting that is both alien and yet chillingly too possible for modern times and the threat of bio-terrorism. "
--Bob Spear
From Heartland Reviews.

April 2004

Five For Silver
"...a delight for fans of historical mysteries. Written with bone-dry wit and unexpected humor, "Five for Silver" is sure-fire entertainment."
--Mark Terry
Read the whole review in The Oakland Press .

"The historical-mystery series that stand the test of time are those that put story first and research second. This is one of those series."
-- David Pitt, in Booklist.
Read the whole review at Amazon.com .

March 2004

Five For Silver
A ..."sterling historical page-turner." STARRED REVIEW
--Publishers Weekly
Read the whole review .

"Five For Silver transmutes through authorial alchemy to gold. Another rattling good read. "
--Barry Baldwin

"Every historical that Mary Reed and Eric Mayer write is better than the one before as impossible as that sounds."
--Harriet Klausner
Read the whole review at Harriet Klausner's Review Archive .

"The secretive and melancholy John remains as tantalizingly elusive as ever, while his friends and colleagues bring humor and color to this plague-infested and tangled tale.... An enjoyable, hard to guess and historically evocative treat."
--Rachel A. Hyde
Read the whole review at MyShelf.Com

Reviews From 2003

Four For A Boy
"Written with humor and pathos, this superior historical is sure to please existing fans and send new ones in search of the rest of the series."
--Publishers Weekly *STARRED REVIEW*

"...every great series needs an 'origin story,' and this one's a real corker."
-- David Pitt, Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*

"The reader gets to go along for the ride and it is an exciting roller coaster, so hang on to your seat and enjoy a marvelous book with intriguing characters, tangled plot, and big dollops of superb history. Once again my kudos to Poisoned Pen Press for publishing some of the finest mysteries being written today."
--Sally Fellows, Mystery News Published bimonthly by Black Raven Press. Mystery News is a complete, up-to-date, and entertaining guide to the latest mystery books, writers, and events.

"Authors Mary Reed and Eric Mayer write convincingly of Constantinople in one of its most famous and dangerous periods...both enjoyable and fascinating. Anyone interested in this critical timeframe, or interested in a good historical mystery, will want to read this book."
-- Rob Preece
Rob Preece is publisher of BooksForABuck.com a fan (and author) of mystery, science fiction, and romance fiction.

"The colorful description of Constantinople is marvelous. The historical detail is meticulous, but never gets in the way of the story."
--Shirley H. Wetzel
Read the whole review at Over My Dead Body. Over My Dead Body is available as a print magazine as well as online.

"...another absorbing tale that gives readers insight into the character of John, a man who seems to have so stoically accepted the cards he's been dealt and yet simmers just beneath the surface. I am ever-awed by the research that textures and paints the world around John, providing a backdrop and society that readers will see in their mind's eye and believe. FOUR FOR A BOY will engross fans of the historical mystery and will turn new readers into fans as well."
--Susan McBride, author of And Then She Was Gone and Overkill.
Read the whole review at Cozies, Capers and Crimes.

"I really like how the books in this series feel, the writing is lovely to read, with characters that I'm interested in knowing and a solid plot."
--Monique Cuillerier, a reader.(reviewing Two For Joy)

All the reviews:
One For Sorrow | Two For Joy | Three For A Letter | Four For A Boy| Five For Silver | Six For Gold

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