The Reluctant Assassin: An Ursula Blanchard Mystery

Fiona Buckley. Crème de la Crime, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-103-1
In Buckley’s uneven 16th Tudor mystery (after 2017’s A Deadly Betrothal), gentlewoman Ursula Blanchard’s nine-year-old son, Harry, disappears one day while riding near her house in the English countryside. The subsequent frantic search triggers Ursula’s kidnapping. The rogues who seize her, who claim to be “loyal servants of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,” blackmail her into undertaking a murderous mission in exchange for Harry’s life. The improbability of this scheme is a major plot weakness, and crucial events that take place outside of Ursula’s immediate surroundings lead to an awkward break in her first-person narrative. More successful are the depictions of real-life figures of the period, such as spymaster Francis Walsingham and ambitious society fixture Bess Hardwick. But the most fascinating character is the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots, who exudes a powerful charm. The action builds to an exciting climax in which all the series regulars are well employed. Essentially a thriller, this entry shows that Buckley is better suited to straight mysteries. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 06/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-78010-953-4
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