Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Robert Hale
Release Date: 30 April 2004
ISBN: 0709075294
Format Reviewed: Hardback
Buy it at Amazon US || UK
Genre: Historical Mystery [1447 Bury St Edmonds, UK]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde

The Bastard’s Tale
Dame Frevisse, # 12
By Margaret Frazer

   Dame Frevisse takes a holiday from her sleuthing and gets embroiled in high politics instead in the twelfth entry of this popular series. Her cousin Alice is the wife of the powerful Marquis of Suffolk and the ever-ambitious Bishop of Winchester wants Frevisse on the spot at Bury St Edmonds, where Parliament is being held. Against her wishes, she has to watch and spy, and before her eyes sees the King’s uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, brought down by Suffolk and other ruthless plotters. But innocent people are also caught up in this maelstrom, and it is going to take all of her ingenuity to save them.

     It says much for the popularity of the series that the author can change tack and toss the readers a political novel instead of the expected whodunit, but this is a series that often throws up surprises. As ever, the book’s main strengths are the character of Frevisse herself, and Frazer’s superb evocation of mid-15th century England. I enjoy her crime novels very much, but have sometimes faulted them for their slowness of pace. This time there is so much intrigue going on that I was left wondering whether there ought to be more of this type of thing in the series. The minutiae of daily life are balanced out nicely by the dastardly doings of the powerful, and surely history of this type was seldom so engrossing or immediate. This is one of the strongest entries in this series to date.

Reviews of other titles in this series

The Servant's Tale, 2
The Outlaw's Tale, 3
The Bishop's Tale, 4
The Prioress’s Tale, 7
The Bastard’s Tale, 12
The Hunter's Tale, 13
The Sempster's Tale, 15
The Traitor’s Tale, 16

© 2004