cover image The Course of All Treasons: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery

The Course of All Treasons: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery

Suzanne M. Wolfe. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64385-178-5

Set in 1586 England, Wolfe’s excellent second mystery featuring Nicholas Holt, who works for Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I’s legendary spymaster, delivers on the promise of 2018’s A Murder by Any Name. Holt’s assignment, to trail a possible Spanish agent, turns deadly when an attempt is made on his own life. When reporting to Walsingham, Holt learns that a fellow spy has already been tortured and murdered. Holt then goes undercover, pretending to join forces with the dangerously ambitious Earl of Essex, to find out who’s targeting Walsingham’s agents. Wolfe vividly brings London to life, from the raunchy taverns to the stages offering plays by Will Shakespeare. But the book’s greatest strength is its characters, starting with the clever but flawed Holt, and including a twin brother and sister team of Jewish healers and a young Irish woman with a talent for disguise. Despite some anachronistic dialogue (“Don’t be a stranger,” the queen calls out to Holt at one point), readers will look forward to spending more time in their company. Agent: Carol Mann, Carol Mann Agency. (Dec.)