cover image A Murder on London Bridge

A Murder on London Bridge

Susanna Gregory, Sphere (IPG, dist.), $29.95 (464p) ISBN 978-1-84744-252-9

Set in 1664, Gregory's exciting, intrigue-filled fifth mystery featuring English spy Thomas Chaloner (after 2009's The Westminster Poisoner) reinforces this British author's place in the front rank of those penning historicals in the genre. On the orders of the earl of Clarendon, Chaloner follows the Rev. Richard "Blue Dick" Culmer, who may be connected with political turmoil that threatens the recently restored monarchy, through the streets of London. When a cloaked man stabs Culmer to death on London Bridge, Chaloner tracks the assassin to a church, where he sees the killer confer with other masked men. The villains all get away before the secret agent can identify them. Meanwhile, Chaloner must also figure out why Jane Scarlet, the wife of a junior warden, was raped, and how these violent acts relate to discontent over the Clarendon Code, unpopular restrictions on religious freedom passed by Parliament. A dash of humor complements the fast-paced investigating. (July)