I snatched up the first in this series, Murder at Hatfield House, as soon as I saw the book (click here for review). I was anxious for the next book to finally be released, and I can't wait to share it with you.
Copyright: April 2014 (NAL) 304 pgs
Series: 2nd in Elizabethan Mysteries series
Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Suspense
Main Characters: Kate Haywood, 18 year old musician in the employ of newly crowned Queen Elizabeth I
Setting: 1559, London England
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
London is a big change from country life for Kate, and the brazen ambition and gossip in the new queen's court is a treacherous mine-field. Kate finds a friend in Lady Mary Everley. Kate gets word that her old friend Rob from the traveling acting troop needs her help. Rob's paramour, a fair red-head like the Queen, has been killed and he will likely be blamed. Then Mary, who is also a fair red-head is murdered in Westminster Abbey. Kate ends up on a killer's trail trying to find the killer's identity before the Queen is the next target. All this while navigating the court politics to see if there is a traitor close to Queen. Kate has her hands full and finds herself in danger more than once. Kate will also learn more about her deceased mother in this book.
Kate is kind, but her naivety is giving way to worldly wisdom in this addition to the series. Her bravery carries her through once again, with her deeply ingrained sense of justice. Her loneliness is touched on, now that she is getting older yet in the Queen's court, which is considered a demanding career more than a job. Queen Elizabeth turns to Kate, knowing her loyalty, to assist in understanding the currents at court. Queen Elizabeth is shown to be steely and shrewd, with a sense of loyalty as well. Rob is a scoundrel with a good heart. Hard working Anthony is in London to apprentice as a lawyer and finds he still cares for Kate deeply.
London is well displayed as Kate investigates, with the streets and alleys taking on their own life. Even the castle with multitudes of political maneuvering is palpable. The plot idea is a fascinating one and captured me while the pacing kept me turning pages. A great combination of tension and intrigue. The climax was another nail-biting intoxicating ride and the wrap-up drops a bomb-shell on Kate that had me wanting the next book immediately.
Another stellar book for this series that is exceeding expectations.
Rating: Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.