As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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S. J. Parris blends fact and fiction in another excellent book
featuring the Italian, Bruno Giordano, a real-life character who was a monk and
philosopher. In fact he was eventually executed for his unorthodox beliefs but
he did spend two years in England
and travel to Oxford.
There is a suggestion that he worked for Walsingham, Elizabeth I's spy master
in the1580’s. This was a time of anti-Catholicism and threats of war, Elizabeth had been
excommunicated by the Pope, who offered papal approval to any one who
assassinated the queen.
This book is well
researched, a solid novel with plenty of period detail and excellent plotting.
The pace is gentle but not too slow.
Bruno feels he
is being watched as he delivers his book to the printer. On the way home he
meets Sophia Underhill, the independent, educated
girl he fell for in the second novel, Heresy. She is disguised as a man and on
the run, accused of murdering her husband. Bruno, gallant as ever, comes to her
aid and goes with her to Canterbury
to clear her name. Meanwhile, Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, has a
job for Bruno, more catholic plots proliferate against her. Also involved are
the superstitions and speculation around the story of St Thomas Becket and the
Huguenots living in exile in Canterbury.
The town’s folk
are suspicious, Bruno is a foreigner at a time when rumours of plague and
imminent war abound. His only ally is the old Cathedral cleric that he stays
with. Whilst Bruno is in Canterbury
a number of brutal crimes take place, he is thrown into prison and secrets come
to light. I don’t wish to reveal too much detail about this novel, to say more
would spoil it for readers. There are plenty of well-rounded characters and
action. Suffice it to say the ending has a twist and sets up the scenario for
the next book in the series. I look forward to reading it
----- Reviewer: Sue Lord
S J Parris
is the pen-name of Stephanie Merritt, a writer for the Observer
and Guardian newspapers. In 1996 she graduated from Cambridge with a degree
in English. She has worked as a critic and feature writer for a range of
newspapers and magazines including The Times, TheDaily
Telegraph, TheNew Statesman, New Humanist, and
Die Welt. From 1998 to 2006 she was the Deputy Literary Editor of TheObserver. She is the author of five novels: Gaveston (2002), Real
(2005), and three Giordano Bruno books (as S.J. Parris), Heresy
(2010), Prophecy (2011), and
Sacrilege. She has also written a memoir about living with depression, The
Devil Within (2008.
Sue Lord originally studied Fine
Art and Art History, her MA is in Creative Writing. She now, reviews, teaches,
mentors and script doctors. She lives in central London
Her favourite pastime is gardening.