Once again, Gregory brings to bear her extraordinary ability to paint a period picture of London in all its grimness and grittiness. Hats off to the lady! - Daily Mail
The ninth adventure for Chaloner sees the Restoration London spy foil a conspiracy
In 1665 England is facing war with the Dutch and the capital is awash with rumours of conspiracy and sedition. As an experienced investigator, Thomas Chaloner knows that there are very few grains of truth in the shifting sands of the rumour-mill, but the murder of Paul Ferine, a Groom of the Robes, in a brothel favoured by the elite of the Palace of White Hall makes him scent a whiff of genuine treason.
As well as investigating the murder, Chaloner is charged with tracking down the leaders of a fanatical sect known as the Fifth Monarchists. As he comes to know more about the group and their meetings on High Holborn, he discovers a puzzling number of connections - to both Ferine's murder and those involved with the defence of the realm. Connections that he must disentangle before it is too late to save the country . . .
British author Gregory solidifies her status as one of the best historical mystery writers around with this suspenseful and atmospheric whodunit set in 1665 England, the ninth starring intelligencer Thomas Chaloner (after 2013's Murder in St. James's Park). Chaloner, who works for the lord chancellor, has to deal with yet another uprising against the unpopular Charles II this one by religious fanatics known as the Fifth Monarchists. Meanwhile, spymaster Joseph Williamson asks him to solve the murder of Paul Ferine, who served the king as groom of the robes. Weeks before Ferine was smothered to death in a brothel, he cast a horoscope predicting a "grave misfortune." The devastating, and mysterious, sinking of the flagship HMS London, with the loss of hundreds of lives, raises the stakes in an entry notable for an intricate and surprising plot. Dry humor, especially in exchanges between Chaloner and his spendthrift wife, Hannah, a lousy cook, leaven the grim storyline.