cover image A Famine of Horses: A Sir Robert Carey Mystery

A Famine of Horses: A Sir Robert Carey Mystery

P. F. Chisholm, Author Walker & Company $20.95 (270p) ISBN 978-0-8027-3252-1

Chisholm steeps her story in so much 16th-century atmosphere and historical detail that much in this British debut is slow going. When Sir Robert Carey, courtier to Queen Elizabeth, is transferred to the Scottish border, he finds many problems. His brother-in-law has appointed him Deputy Warden over Richard Lowther, who assumed he would get the job. Carey has to contend with Lowther and the distrustful Sergeant Henry Dodd, who has just found the body of the son of a powerful feudal lord. Carey must convince Dodd that stemming the lord's vengeful tendency and bringing the murderer to trial is the civilized way of justice. While looking for the killer, they stumble on the makings of a border attack, which Carey suspects is being masterminded locally. Chisholm's short digressions on the new concept of due process are thoughtful but blunted by archaic terms. And Carey, an upright courtier with the gift of guile, remains too distant, never fully retaining the reader's sympathies. (Apr.)