The Devlin Diary

The Devlin Diary - Christi Phillips Christi Phillips' second novel, "The Devlin Diary," features American historian Claire Donovan coming to Cambridge University as an instructor on temporary assignment. Like the fellows, she is required to not only teach a full complement of students but also to perform and publish original research.While looking for ideas in the library, Claire finds an encoded diary. She hand copies several of the pages and shows them to Derek Goodman, another instructor. He tells her that he is already doing research on this code (not entirely true), and then proceeds to go about damaging her reputation with the other faculty members. When Derek's body is found on the grounds, the coroner returns a verdict of murder and many eyes turn toward Claire.The book takes place both in the present day and in the 17th century, as part of the action involves Hannah Devlin, the author of the diary. Ms. Devlin is a physician, which is not a profession allowed to women during the Restoration. Yet, she is brought to court to treat the king's mistress, Louise de Keroualle, for an ailment that the court would prefer remain undisclosed to the public.Ms. Philips has done a great deal of research into the Restoration period, and cites her sources in an author's note at the end of the novel. As a fan of well-research historical fiction, my hat is certainly off to her. Her characters, both modern and historical, are well-drawn and interesting. Recommended for fans of murder mysteries and historical fiction alike.(Review based on advance readers' edition.)