'Fans will be pleased to hear that Susanna Gregory has yet again hit on a winning formula of taking a likeable main character, involving him in a gripping plot and setting them within a commendably realistic setting. It is another bravura performance' - Historical Novels Review
The seventh adventure in the Thomas Chaloner series.
Thomas Chaloner is relieved to be summoned back to London. His master, the Earl of Clarendon, has sent him to Tangier to investigate a case of corruption. Chaloner will be glad to be home, to be reunited with his new wife, but the trivial reason for his recall exasperates him - the theft of material from the construction site of Clarendon's embarrassingly sumptuous new house just north of Piccadilly.
Within hours of his return, Chaloner considers these thefts even more paltry as he is thrust into extra investigations involving threats of assassination, a stolen corpse and a scheme to frame the Queen for treason. Yet there are connections from them all which thread through the unfinished Clarendon House...
'Pungent with historical detail' (Irish Times)
'A richly imagined world of colourful medieval society and irresistible monkish sleuthing' (Good Book Guide)
'Corpses a-plenty, exciting action sequences and a satisfying ending' (Mystery People)
Gregory has never been better at juggling multiple plots than in her superior seventh historical featuring spy and sleuth Thomas Chaloner (after 2011's The Body in the Thames). In 1664, Chaloner returns to London from a mission to Tangier, where he was sent disguised as a diplomat to look into suspected cost overruns. His boss, the earl of Clarendon, now wants him to look into another matter the theft of building materials from the nobleman's new mansion. That case proves to be but the first of many Chaloner must tackle simultaneously, the most serious of which pertains to allegations that the queen has ordered the murder of Clarendon's architect. A close second is the intelligencer's search for the truth behind a massacre of 500 English troops at the hands of the Moors earlier that year. Crystal-clear prose and deliberate pacing ensure that the reader can follow the twisted trails to the truth as well as Chaloner can.