cover image THE THORNE MAZE


Karen Harper, . . St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-30176-7

Tudor England's answer to V. I. Warshawski, Elizabeth I, must as usual take on a murder case or two in Harper's fifth well-researched, intrigue-filled historical (after 2002's The Queene's Cure). The royal sleuth is surprised by a deadly assault in the Hampton Court maze one night after making an appointment to meet old flame Robin Dudley. Did the attacker mean to kill her, or was she mistaken for someone else? Disturbing clues suggest that someone near to the queen wants her dead. A confrontation in a highly unusual maze makes for a thrilling conclusion. Harper's portrait of the Virgin Queen as sleuth is illuminating, but readers familiar with Elizabethan history will spot the villain much too soon. (Feb. 28)