My good friend Liisa Eyerly and I share many things in common including a love of writing, playing tennis and pickleball, and an appreciation for our Scandinavian heritage, but Liisa is way cooler than me. I might have introduced her to a few good writing books and authors, but she introduced me to a traditional Finnish bath. A group of us met at her home on a northern Wisconsin lake and steamed in her sauna, properly pronounced SOW-na, where she threw water on rocks until the sweat poured off our bodies. We brought the blood to the surface of our skin by stroking our arms and legs with special brushes. She told the story of her grandmother who never took a bath. Her whole life! “Mummo” used the sauna exclusively to keep her body squeaky clean.
Traditional Finnish sauna’s were built near lakes so once people had steamed for a while, they could plunge into the cold water. After fifteen minutes of steaming, our group, sweat beaded on our foreheads, were ready for the plunge. We grabbed a swim noodle and dashed for the lake. The initial cold wasn’t as shocking as one would imagine, only invigorating. Using the noodles, we floated effortlessly, simply relaxing and enjoying the experience. So cool.
But the other intriguing thing about Liisa is that she has a thing for ancient Ephesus—located in what is now Turkey. When reading her historical mysteries, one is transported to 96 A.D., the time in history when gladiators brought in thousands of spectators for competitions, when the caste system included both slaves forced to spend their lives constructing such iconic structures such as the Temple of Artemis and the elite who might wile away their time resting by elegant fountains and dining on foods such as croquettes, green beans, and baked pears with pepper.
My friend Liisa and I do share many interests, but like great friends, she has broadened my horizons. Whether transporting me back to Finland where 100 years ago a young girl enjoyed a sauna with her family or transporting me back 2,000 years to marble-paved streets, elegant gardens with ornate statues, and meals consisting of local delicacies such as songbirds and dormice—yes, mice!— Liisa is way cooler.
Liisa herself journeyed to ancient Rome a few years ago and traveled the same paths that were once the marble-paved streets that apostle Paul walked on. When reading her prose, you, too, will walk these paths along with her main character, sleuth Sabina. You’ll visualize magnificent temples glorifying Greek and Roman gods and challenge yourself to solve the mystery along with Sabina who breaks all the rules. If you or someone you know is eager for a cunning murder mystery flavored by Christian intrigue or curious about ancient Roman recipes such as grilled sow’s womb—grilled sow’s womb!—check out the super cool www.liisaeyerly.com.