A Murder by Any Name: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery

Suzanne M. Wolfe. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-68331-714-2
The stabbing murder of Cecily Carew, a young lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I, drives the well-crafted plot of this promising series launch from Wolfe (Unveiling), set in 1585. Nick Holt, who’s “lately returned from spying for the queen on the Continent,” accompanies the monarch to Whitehall Palace, where Cecily’s body lies on a chapel altar. Rumor has it that the murder, a sacrifice of an innocent, was done by the Jews to mock the Eucharist, but the queen is sure that the killer is a member of her court and commands Nick to identify the miscreant and “bring him to me for, by Christ, I will not suffer such a man to live.” Contrary to her Gloriana Regina image, Wolfe portrays Elizabeth as a vain, acid-tongued, and frightened woman whose grasp on power is faltering. Abundant details of London daily life shed light on the customs and mores of the time. Some surprising twists lead to a startling conclusion. Fans of Elizabethan historicals will be satisfied, despite the occasional use of such contemporary terms as “body language” and “parent issues.” Agent: Carol Mann, Carol Mann Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 10/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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