cover image Dark Queen Watching

Dark Queen Watching

Paul Doherty. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-138-3

In 1471, the House of York is ascendant, and Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond and a leading Lancastrian, is not only out of power but in serious danger, in Doherty’s outstanding third Margaret Beaufort mystery (after 2020’s The Stone of Destiny). The bloodshed begins with the murder in a tavern of a French royal clerk, who was trying to chase down an ominous rumor. Other homicides follow, as well as a massacre in an English forest. It becomes clear that there’s a political point to the trail of death. Why is someone trying to drive the countess out of England? Who would benefit? Meanwhile, Beaufort’s trusted henchman, Christopher Urswicke, who’s fighting various family demons, investigates the murders and mischief surrounding Beaufort. What makes this stand out from other mysteries set during the Wars of the Roses is how it draws in formidable players from outside England. Particularly frightening is a highly trained group of assassins from Spain, based on historical fact. This entry’s devious and deadly plots and conspiracies make Game of Thrones look like a game of patty-cake. (Dec.)