Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher:  Forge
Release Date: September 2003
ISBN: 0765300206
Format Reviewed: Hardcover
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Genre: Mystery / Historical / medieval
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Mary Ellen (M.E.) Cooper
Reviewer Notes: Reviewer, M.E. Cooper is the author of an Italian Renaissance mystery series (Key Deceptions) and a Civil War mystery series (Uncivil Death).

Lucrezia Borgia and the Mother of Poisons
Roberta Gellis

     Lucrezia Borgia and the Mother of Poisons by Roberta Gellis is a Renaissance mystery. Aconite, or monkshood, is known as the mother ofpoisons. Lucrezia is a beautiful, twice-widowed young woman who istired of being the target of whispers and rumors in Rome. When she is married off to the heir of the Duke of Ferrara, she is eager to start a new life among people who are more congenial to her. She has not been there long when a young woman, Donna Bianca, is poisoned, and suspicion falls on Lucrezia, although she
could not have done it. Believing she must clear her name from suspicion, Lucrezia determines to find the real killer.

     The duke has a masked costume ball with all the court people in attendance. The descriptions of clothing and the colorful event are described in accurate detail. Suddenly Palagio, the young man Lucrezia suspected of knowing more about the poisoner than he admitted, is stabbed to death before the entire crowd. The killer, masked but dressed as the duke's younger son, Sigismundo, flees through a palace window while everyone is frozen in a state of shock.

     The duke, followed by the crowd, rushes to Sigismundo's quarters where he is peacefully discussing ideas with Leonardo da Vinci, who affirms Sigismundo has not left the room.

     Lucrezia follows her instincts to unveil the murderer in an exciting climax. The duke is pleased and mentions that if there should be another murder in the palace he would count on Lucrezia to solve it, leaving the reader to hope there will be a second book in the series.

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