cover image A Missed Murder

A Missed Murder

Michael Jecks. Crème de la Crime, $28.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-78029-108-6

In Jecks’s entertaining third mystery featuring accomplished thief and reluctant assassin Jack Blackjack (after 2017’s A Murder Too Soon), the looming birth of a child to Queen Mary and her Spanish husband, Prince Philip, seems to promise stability for England. But conspiracies abound in 1555, and Jack once again finds himself at the mercy of forces more powerful than himself. The shadowy, deep-pocketed John Blount—who may have ties to Lady Elizabeth, Mary’s younger sister—hires Jack to murder Jeffrey of Shoreditch, a “wheedling, whining” man, but since Jack is squeamish about violence, he tries to delegate the killing to a tougher character. Everything goes wrong, and over the next few days, Jack struggles to deal with the dire consequences of his bungling. Another murder, of a highborn Spaniard, puts fresh enemies on his trail. The wry humor of Jack’s plight tends to overshadow the crime solving, such that the solution to the murders comes as a bit of an anticlimax. Jecks brings the seamy side of Tudor London to life through rich, atmospheric descriptions of its taverns, brothels, and streets. Agent: Joanna Swainson, Hardman & Swainson (U.K.). [em](Dec.) [/em]