ASSASSIN: The Lady Grace Mysteries, Book the First

Grace Cavendish, Author, Patricia Finney, Author
Grace Cavendish, Author, Patricia Finney, Author . Delacorte $6.95 (194p) ISBN 978-0-385-73151-5
Reviewed on: 11/01/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Library Binding - 194 pages - 978-0-385-90189-5
Hardcover - 201 pages - 978-0-385-60644-8
Open Ebook - 90 pages - 978-0-307-53638-9
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This snappily paced caper launches the Lady Grace Mysteries, a series of attractively designed and priced paper-over-board volumes written as journal entries in the "daybooke" of a young Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I. On her deathbed a year earlier, Lady Grace Cavendish's mother (who was poisoned when she sipped tainted wine intended for the queen) entrusted the monarch with finding a suitable husband for her daughter. The queen has summoned three suitors to Whitehall Palace and, at a pageantry-filled St. Valentine's Day ball, Grace must chose one to wed. The girl selects bashful, stammering Lord Robert, who is then arrested for the stabbing of another suitor (an aiglet bearing Robert's family crest is discovered near the body). Realizing that it makes little sense for Robert, victorious in winning her hand, to have killed his former rival, Grace asks Queen Elizabeth to delay committing her intended to the Tower while she tries to "find out the truth of the matter." Thus the stage is set for this spunky sleuth to follow a curlicue trail of clues to crack the mystery. Peppered with Elizabethan expressions and Court titles (explained in a concluding glossary), the narrative provides an engaging look at 16th-century Court life. Readers will be encouraged to search out further intrigue in the series' second installment, Betrayal (ISBN 0-385-73152-3 ) , due out the same month. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

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