cover image Queen’s Progress: A Kit Marlowe Mystery

Queen’s Progress: A Kit Marlowe Mystery

M.J. Trow. Crème de la Crime, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-104-8

Set in 1591, Trow’s dazzling ninth Kit Marlowe mystery (after 2017’s Eleventh Hour) sends playwright and spy Marlowe into the English countryside to help make arrangements for the aging Elizabeth I’s forthcoming royal progress, during which she will visit various loyal subjects wealthy enough to host her. But his true mission is to make sure that the queen will be in safe hands during the progress—and that turns out to be very much in doubt; this was a time of many Catholic plots against the throne, and some of the queen’s subjects are anything but loyal. Indeed, “if Her Majesty had invited herself to the Vatican, she couldn’t be in more danger,” says Tom Sledd, the stage manager at the Rose Theatre who’s Marlow’s garrulous number two in spycraft. As the conspiracy unfolds, the surprises that come with it are very well sprung. Real figures, ranging from the “wizard earl” of Northumberland to “Will Shaxsper,” add to the fun. A rich and imaginative story line, leavened with humor, sets this at the forefront of Tudor historicals. (July)