Synopses & Reviews
London swelters in a heatwave in the summer of 1664, and in the corridors of power the temperature is equally high as an outbreak of war with the Dutch threatens to become a reality, in the sixth Chaloner mystery In the dilapidated surroundings of the Savoy hospital, a delegation from the Netherlands is gathered in a last ditch attempt to secure peace between the two nations. Thomas Chaloner, active in Holland during Cromwell's time, is horrified at the violent aggression shown to the Dutch by ordinary Londoners, but is more worried by the dismissive attitude with which they are greeted by the King's ministers and officials—he has experienced the futilities of war at first hand and has no wish to witness another. When the body of his former brother-in-law is found in the Thames, Chaloner discovers the dead man has left enigmatic clues to a motivation for his murder. Was he involved in a plot to steal the crown jewels, or did he fall foul of one of the many people in London who are determined that the peace talks will fail?
"Negotiations between the English and Dutch in 1664 aimed at preventing war figure prominently in Gregory's engaging sixth historical featuring intelligencer Thomas Chaloner (after 2010's A Murder on London Bridge). Among those in St. Margaret's Church observing Chaloner's wedding to Hannah Cotton, lady-in-waiting to the queen, is a shabbily dressed uninvited guest, Philip Alden, a Royalist spy during the Commonwealth. As the bride and groom proceed up the aisle after the ceremony, a woman sitting next to Alden screams; someone has fatally stabbed Alden in the back. Soon after, Willem Hense, the Dutch brother of Chaloner's late first wife, is found floating in the Thames. Multiple plot lines involving a blackmailer, sabotage aimed at the Dutch delegation, and a shadowy figure who may be behind all the mayhem make close reading a must. As usual, Gregory does a fine job integrating fact and fiction. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Engaging . . . As usual, Gregory does a fine job integrating fact and fiction." —Publishers Weekly
The ninth adventure for Chaloner sees the Restoration London spy foil a conspiracy In 1665 England faces war with the Dutch and the capital is awash with rumors of conspiracy and sedition. As an experienced investigator, Thomas Chaloner knows that there are very few grains of truth in the shifting sands of the rumor-mill, but the murder of Paul Ferine, a Groom of the Robes, in a brothel favored by the elite of the Palace of White Hall makes him scent a whiff of genuine treason. As well as investigating the murder, Chaloner is charged with tracking down the leaders of a fanatical sect known as the Fifth Monarchists. As he comes to know more about the group and their meetings on High Holborn, he discovers a puzzling number of connections—to both Ferine's murder and those involved with the defense of the realm. Connections that he must disentangle before it is too late to save the country.
About the Author
Susanna Gregory is a Cambridge academic and the author of the Thomas Chaloner series.