Rizzio

Denise Mina. Pegasus Crime, $20.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-64313-845-9
Bestseller Mina (The Less Dead) vividly recreates a gruesome episode from the Tudor era in this searing novella set mostly over the course of a single day, Mar. 9, 1566. Mary, Queen of Scots, is the target of a conspiracy. Her ambitious husband, Henry, Lord Darnley, joins a plot to have David Rizzio, Mary’s personal secretary and close friend, murdered in front of the heavily pregnant queen in the hope the shock will cause her to miscarry, and thus strengthen Darnley’s claim to the throne. The first chapter’s title, “David Rizzio Plays Tennis with His Assassins,” heightens the tension as readers come to dread Rizzio’s inevitable fate. Mina interjects well-wrought characterizations into the events that follow the tennis game, which culminate in the invasion of Mary’s chambers by 80 armed soldiers, who drag off the helpless Rizzio and stab him 56 times. The author’s other judicious choice, to employ some anachronistic phrasing (Mary refers to Darnley as “a waste of space”), creates a sense of immediacy. This superior historical thriller reads like a real-life episode of Game of Thrones. Agent: Fiona Brownlee, Brownlee Donald Assoc. (U.K.). (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/24/2021
Release date: 09/07/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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