Witness of Bones

Leonard Tourney, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (262p) ISBN 978-0-312-08339-7
Occasional well-placed nods to the present day and a determined avoidance of period whimsy make Tourney's tales of Elizabethan detection ( Knaves Templar , etc.) far superior to the usual intrigue-behind-court-walls saga. Chelmsford clothier and local constable Matthew Stock is summmoned to London with his wife, Joan, by their friend Robert Cecil, a trusted adviser to the ailing Queen Elizabeth. He wants them to investigate the case of a Catholic martyr who has seemingly risen from the grave, prompting some to claim a miracle; Cecil sees a papist plot with political insurrection as its goal. Before the Stocks can trace the conspiracy, Matthew is accused of murdering a minister who has been preaching against the miracle, and Joan must sleuth on her own in a society reluctant to allow a plucky, forthright woman any independence. Tourney neither belabors nor neglects his setting, and although his puzzle's solution isn't very gripping, the Stocks make wonderful guides to a world quite different from our own, yet sometimes shockingly familiar. ( Oct. )
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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