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Mystery / Espionage
A fire-starter is at the heart of this medieval tale of murder, mystery, treason and spies.
Emeline was about to marry the earl’s eldest son, Peter Chetwynd, but following his death in a fire, she finds herself betrothed to his younger brother Nicholas instead. He is a cowardly wastrel and no one has a good word to say about him. Then fire rages again on their wedding night with the marriage looking doomed almost before it has started. Nicholas is rude and aggressive to his wife and prone to unexplained disappearances. Having been brought up by a tyrannical father, Emma is aware she must just 'do her duty' to her husband but is he quite all he seems? She learns to think better of him, but then her father is killed in the arms of an unknown mistress, their bodies burned in yet another fire.
At last the family comes to realise that these deaths are connected with Nicholas becoming a prime suspect. Then more suspects emerge with one in particular rising to the fore. Meanwhile, Nicholas is off on another of his 'missions'…
Set in Richard III’s brief kingship this entertaining tale rattles along, with dangers and revelations throughout, punctuated by very likeable (and very dislikeable) characters. As with most mysteries, whether novels or TV, the plot does rely upon coincidences and appearances at just the right moment, a common formula for this genre, but knowing this the trick is for the reader to spot the red-herrings which in a good novel is often not easy to do. And for this novel the ending has enough of a surprise to be a very satisfying climax.
© Richard Tearle