By Kate Sedley
Severn House - June 2001
ISBN: 0727857320 - HB
Historical Crime - 1477 London

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde,
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Kate Sedley has built up quite a following amongst historical crime aficionados for her Roger The Chapman mysteries, of which this is the tenth. This time Roger isn't going off with his pack alone but leaving it behind and taking his wife instead - on a trip to London to see the wedding of the infant Duke of York and watch a tournament. But Roger gets spotted at the wedding by his sporadic employer Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later to be Richard III) and is inveigled into solving a crime which might win the favour of Jane Shore, the King's mistress and thus gain the pardon of his brother the Duke of Clarence, who is in prison. Jane's cousin Isolda Bonifant is the daughter of a local goldsmith and is accused to poisoning her husband - can Roger find her innocent and save the Duke's life?

This is a mystery in the classic Agatha Christie mold as the goldsmith's household all have strong motives for wanting Gideon dead and were even all seated around a table while it was done - shades of Sparkling Cyanide! As ever, Sedley delivers an easy-to-read, perfectly paced and highly enjoyable story narrated by the likable Roger and managing to convey, in comparatively few words, the ambience of 15th century London. A teasing plot has the reader chasing after a fishmonger's worth of red herrings and the tale is neatly concluded. A satisfying and entertaining read.

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