Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Queen's Gambit
A Leonardo da Vinci Mystery, #1

by Diane A. S. Stuckart

      The Queen's Gambit is first in the Leonardo da Vinci mystery series.

Dear Leo is the mastermind in this the game of deduction, but it's young Dino who steals the show. Dino is just one of many apprentices in Leo's royal studio. Like Dr. Watson, Dino documents the first case while he leads readers through a maze of murder and court intrigue. The mystery is written in first person. The dialogue is genuine as well as the historical descriptions, including Leo's painting techniques and other passions. The story flows well and reads like a Cozy History Mystery.

The king sets up a life size game of Chess with those visiting court as the Chess pieces. They are dressed in full regalia. Dino is sent in search of a player missing after a break. When Dino finds the player dead in a private garden, Leo has him replace the player in the game so he can log reactions of the other players and the audience. This bit of deduction draws them both into a mystery which becomes as complex as the game of Chess. The further they delve into the secret lives of those at court the more deadly it becomes for poor Dino. It's a life size Queen's Gambit.

Dino harbors a secret of his own. Readers are made aware of it. Eventually other characters discover the secret and help him hide it, but the key is will the readers accept it, as well as an under age narrator. I found it delightful and fascinating. Highly recommended.

The Book

Berkley Hardcover
January 2, 2008
0425219232 / 978-0425219232
Historical Mystery / Milan - 1483
More at

The Reviewer

Brenda Weeaks
Reviewed 2008
© 2008