In 1559, Elizabeth, now
queen, has moved her court to London. Her coronation is to
be very soon. Of course her favorite musician, Kate Haywood,
is part of this very large entourage. She has worked with
her father on the music for this very special event.
playing her lute with the royal musicians on a barge going
to the Tower, Kate has fallen asleep in the room she is sharing
with the junior ladies-in-waiting. She shares her own bed
with her best friend Lady Mary Everley. Kate is woken up by
the Queen herself. Elizabeth wants her to go with her right
away. She leads Kate across the Tower grounds to a church
- St Peter ad Vincula. Elizabeth tells Kate her mother, Anne
Boleyn, is buried under the marble. This is a very special
private moment that Kate gets to share with her Queen.
night, while watching a play given in Elizabeth’s honor,
Kate spots an old friend on stage. A young lad in the company
soon comes to talk to Kate. He tells her that Rob Cartman
needs to see her right away. Kate agrees since Rob once saved
her life. Kate is disguised as a young man. She spies several
members of the royal court out imbibing. Arriving at a bawdy
house, Kate is shown to a room and sees Rob huddled by the
fire. He explains what has been happening. He did not kill
Nell; he just walked into her room and found her dead body.
Kate agrees to help him find out who killed Nell. She can
easily ask questions at court without coming under suspicion.
takes place at Westminster Abbey. That night there is a banquet
in Elizabeth’s honor. Kate is playing her lute with
the other musicians when the Queen beckons her. She is looking
for Lady Mary Everley. Elizabeth is not pleased that she is
not around. Kate is then tasked with finding her. She sees
a light in the Abbey and goes to investigate. The flickering
candlelight is coming from Henry VII’s chapel. Inside
she finds Mary on the floor – she has been murdered.
to ponder: Who is Mary Everley kissing in the moonlight? Who
lost a very expensive silver button? Why was Nell murdered
– is it her resemblance to Queen Elizabeth - or a jealous
lover? Just what were Lady Mary Everley, her friend Lady Catherine
Grey and the Count de Feria whispering about?
Carmack paints a glowing picture that gives you a glimpse
into life in Tudor England. The brush strokes reveal the pageantry,
secret trysts, plenty of revelry, newly formed alliances and
many whispered exchanges. There are plenty of twists and turns
plus an assortment of red herrings that will happily keep
you turning those pages. The author has done a tremendous
amount of research which lets you feel as if you are right
there. This well-plotted story is quite intriguing and I love
the mixing of fictional characters with real historical people.
The third in this series - Murder in the Queen’s
Garden will be out in February 2015. I can’t wait
to see what Kate Haywood will be up to in her next escapade.
So if you like a mystery filled with back-stabbing people
who are jockeying for a better position in Queen Elizabeth’s
court, then you should be reading Murder at Westminster