cover image Secret World

Secret World

M.J. Trow. Severn/Creme de la Crime, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-075-1

Trow’s seventh whodunit featuring playwright and intelligencer Kit Marlowe (after 2014’s Traitor’s Storm) opens on a stirring note with the siege of Malta in 1565, then flashes forward 24 years to Canterbury, England, where Kit is on a family visit. Street rumors lead Kit to the home of Jane Benchkyne, whose mother once employed Kit’s mother as a servant, and whose maid, Alice Snow, found Jane dead in her bed. Kit’s father, John Marley, the local constable, insists that the death was an accident, but it’s clear to the writer that someone repeatedly struck Jane and shattered her skull. The action takes an unexpected turn after the deceased’s will reveals that she’s left all her worldly goods, including her house and its contents, to Alice. Later, Kit’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, involves him in a case involving the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose strong room was burgled and an odd artifact stolen. Trow makes the political intrigue of the time palpable. (Sept.)