Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Judas Blade
Betsy Brand Mysteries · Book II
John Pilkington

Robert Hale
30 December 2011 /ISBN: 9780709093527
Historical Mystery /1671 /London & Holland
Amazon / AMAZON UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Following on from her debut in After The Fire (also reviewed on this site) actress Betsy Brand finds herself in need of some money. Acting doesn't pay much, but she has another talent - intelligencer - and applies to Lord Caradoc for a new assignment. She gets her wish, and finds herself in the King's Bench prison for her pains. Not that she has exactly been arrested; she is actually there to gather information about a prisoner thought likely to be a political agitator. When he is found dead Betsy finds her mission has become more demanding and soon she is on her way to Holland.

I can never understand people who say that the 17th century is boring, and that is why there are so few novels set during this period. It was a most exciting century (surely what the Chinese would term ·interesting times·) and Betsy's adventures as a spy during the Restoration make for imaginative and thrilling reading. This is a murder mystery, but it is also a tale of espionage and gets my vote for originality for several reasons. The Holland of old paintings is brought to life in these pages and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep readers on their toes. Betsy is a likeable character and makes for a resourceful and entertaining sleuth, and there is also enough about these books that is new and different to make them seen fresh and new despite the general waning of interest in histmysts as a genre. I hope this series continues for some time.

Reviewed 2012
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