cover image The Muscovy Chain: A Thomas the Falconer Mystery

The Muscovy Chain: A Thomas the Falconer Mystery

John Pilkington, Author . Severn $27.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7278

Pilkington's straightforward seventh mystery featuring 16th-century falconer Thomas Finbow as an unlikely amateur sleuth is stronger on period feeling than plot twists. The prologue introduces the reader to a shadowy Italian cutthroat named Corvino, whom a French nobleman enlists to trace a treasured piece of jewelry. The action then shifts to England, where Thomas's master, Sir Robert Vicary, has been entrusted by the Privy Council with the valuable Muscovy Chain, intended to be conveyed as a gift to Boris Godunov, the de facto ruler of Russia, in an effort to solidify trading relations. Despite Thomas's best efforts, the chain disappears and a number of corpses turn up in and around Vicary's estate. While the action is swift and the color convincing, there's no mystery about who's behind the killings, and the theft is solved relatively quickly. The characters and period would be better served by a plot with more suspense. (Nov.)