My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Kate Mosse is masterful at weaving two eras and narratives together to form one continuous mystery. In Sepulchre, the stories of two heroines, 21st century author Meredith, and 19th century Leonie, intertwine. American Meredith arrives in France with two goals in mind; she needs to research the life of the composer Debussy, whose biography she is writing, and, as a sidelight, she hopes to trace her amorphous French roots. At first glance, Leonie seems an ancillary character, the sister of the dashing Anatole, whose amorous adventures have landed him in a heap of trouble. When the siblings receive an invitation from their aunt, who lives near Rennes-les-Bains in the Pyrenees, Anatole accepts with alacrity, ostensibly to escape his enemies in Paris. But he has a deeper motive. Meredith, a century later, travels to the same location, in hopes of finding the identity of the man in an old family photo.
As the dual narratives unfold, so do the mystical elements: Tarot cards, ties to Rennes-le-Chateau and Pere Saunier of Holy Grail legend, a ruined manor with a creepy chapel, and a pair of nefarious villains all combine to direct the fates of Meredith and Leonie, who, as it turns out, are related by blood, both literally and figuratively. More romance than mystery, segments of this plot are unabashedly fanciful. But the aura of the Languedoc, Cathar country, is expressively evoked, the dual tales are engaging, and (no small thing) the writing is proficient.