cover image In the Shadow of the Enemy

In the Shadow of the Enemy

Tania Bayard. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8843-3

The mystery unfolds slowly in Bayard’s well-researched sequel to 2018’s The Presence of Evil. In 1393, a fire during a celebration at the royal palace in Paris results in the death of a band of revelers who were closely associated with King Charles VI. Queen Isabeau, convinced that her husband was the target of an assassination attempt, asks intrepid scribe Christine de Pizan, a widow with a reputation for crime solving, to discover the villain’s identity. As she tells Christine, “Someone is here among us, putting an evil shadow over us. I have felt it since the night of the unwise masquerade.” Meanwhile, Christine looks into the disappearance of elderly Martin du Bois, who has loaned her a manuscript. Christine agrees to take in Martin’s petulant young wife until her husband is located, a problem seemingly more pressing than catching the arsonist. The action doesn’t pick up until toward the end. History fans will enjoy this one more than mystery lovers. Agent: Josh Getzler, HSG Agency. (Mar.)