cover image The Service of the Dead: A Kate Clifford Mystery

The Service of the Dead: A Kate Clifford Mystery

Candace Robb. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-68177-127-4

Set in York in 1399, this series launch from Robb (A Vigil of Spies) works better as a historical novel than a mystery. Richard II’s decision to forfeit Henry Bolingbroke’s inheritance raises the prospect of a civil war. Against this backdrop, Kate Clifford, who operates a guesthouse, is put in a difficult position by the real-life mayor of York, William Frost, a cousin of hers. Kate was expecting William and a lady friend to use one of her rooms for a discreet rendezvous, but instead, the mayor persuaded her housekeeper to accommodate a stranger and a well-known prostitute. The deception would have been a trivial one had the unknown man not been strangled. When Kate confronts William, he refuses to identify the corpse, though he agrees to dispose of the remains to avoid a scandal. Kate’s search for the man’s identity and killer is prosaic, but the novel resonates with its compelling portrayal of an England on the brink of crisis. [em]Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (May) [/em]