cover image The Rufus Spy: An Aelf Fen Mystery

The Rufus Spy: An Aelf Fen Mystery

Alys Clare. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8749-8

Set in 1093, Clare’s engrossing eighth Aelf Fen mystery finds mystic and apprentice healer Lassair filled with conflicted feelings for Jack Chevestrier, whom she saved from death in 2016’s The Night Wanderer. When she leaves Chevestrier’s Cambridge for her home in the fens, she unwittingly puts herself in the killing zone of a vengeance-obsessed stranger. One young man is already dead, and while she’s staying in the fens another, Sibert, is attacked. No one knows why. When her former lover, Rollo, a spy for King William Rufus, asks Lassair to accompany him in his effort to evade the violence, she agrees. The couple’s attempts to throw the killer off their scent range from disguising themselves as nobility and staying in a castle to sleeping in a monk’s hovel. Newcomers may struggle to untangle the many relationships, particularly those among the inhabitants of the fenlands, but all will relate to the empathetic Lassair and her authentic emotional responses to the people in her life, whether mentor, parent, lover, friend, or would-be murderer. (Feb.)