cover image The Alchemist of Lost Souls

The Alchemist of Lost Souls

Mary Lawrence. Kensington, $15.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1531-9

Set in 1544 London, Lawrence’s atmospheric fourth Bianca Goddard mystery (after 2016’s Death at St. Vedast) centers on a dangerous substance created by Bianca’s father, disgraced alchemist Albern Goddard. After the substance, referred to as “the stone,” disappears from his workshop, Albern shows up at the home of pregnant Bianca and her husband, demanding she find it for him; he’s certain his wife, Malva, stole it. Before Bianca, herself a skilled alchemist, can find the answers, a woman is found murdered on a Southwark street, a frightening green vapor emanating from her mouth. Many greedy, dishonest, and violent people are keen to possess Albern’s creation, so many that it can be challenging to keep track of them all, or to mourn their untimely deaths. More successful is the complex Bianca, whose deep love for her husband is one of her more endearing traits. The action builds to a well-executed climax that pitches Bianca into a life or death struggle. Fans of Tudor historicals will eagerly await the next installment. Agent: Fred Tribuzzo, Rudy Agency. (May)