cover image The Piccadilly Plot

The Piccadilly Plot

Susanna Gregory. Sphere (IPG dist.), $29.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-84744-432-5

Gregory has never been better at juggling multiple plots than in her superior seventh historical featuring spy and sleuth Thomas Chaloner (after 2011’s The Body in the Thames). In 1664, Chaloner returns to London from a mission to Tangier, where he was sent disguised as a diplomat to look into suspected cost overruns. His boss, the earl of Clarendon, now wants him to look into another matter—the theft of building materials from the nobleman’s new mansion. That case proves to be but the first of many Chaloner must tackle simultaneously, the most serious of which pertains to allegations that the queen has ordered the murder of Clarendon’s architect. A close second is the intelligencer’s search for the truth behind a massacre of 500 English troops at the hands of the Moors earlier that year. Crystal-clear prose and deliberate pacing ensure that the reader can follow the twisted trails to the truth as well as Chaloner can. (Aug.)