England 1573, and Ursula Blanchard, half-sister to Queen Elizabeth I herself, is looking forward to some peace and quiet. After attending an execution of a traitor that she brought to justice, the only problems facing her seem to be gossip about the father of her young son – a very complicated story… Her main adversary seems to be Jane Cobbold, a neighbour, and, needless to say, she is soon found dead in her garden. Suspicion falls on Ursula’s loyal servant, Brockley, and it’s up to Ursula to prove his innocence. With another death soon following, and Sir Francis Walsingham himself getting involved, things soon start to get serious…
The twelfth book in a series of adventures, this is the first time that I’ve encountered this author and her lead character. But will I be returning to fill in the preceding eleven books?
Maybe… I did feel that I missed a lot of the background but it is all summarised for the new reader. Unfortunately I did feel that it potentially spoiled some developments in earlier books. The characters are already developed at this point in their lives and it did feel strange joining them at this late stage.
I’m not convinced I’ll be back, though, as at the end of the day, this is much more an adventure than a mystery. I’ve said before that it’s very hard to pull off a mystery where, for the majority of the plot, there is only one credible suspect. Either the real murderer comes out of nowhere or it’s the one suspect the whole time. Neither plot works very often for me, and I’m sorry to say that this wasn’t the book to change my mind.
Fans of the Tudor period – and there are many – will probably lap this up, but I’m aftraid that it wasn’t my cup of tea.
My copy was provided via NetGalley and it will be published by Severn House at the end of the month.