Published by Robert Hale,
31 December 2013.
It is December 1858 and, for the
first time, Charlotte Richmond's life is blissfully settled and secure. Charlotte is living in
Hampshire with her late, (and unlamented) husband's family. Her brother-in-law,
his wife and their young son occupy the big house and Charlotte and her
wealthy, good-hearted grandmother-in-law live in the Dower House. Only two
things mar Charlotte's contentment: the illness
of her dearest friend, Elaine Knightley and the ever-present fear that somebody
from her shady past in Australia
will appear to destroy her good reputation.
Barnard, and his wife, Lily, are celebrating the christening of their infant
son and have secured illustrious godparents for the child in the shape of Lord
and Lady Granville, the most important family in the neighbourhood. Recently,
scandal and fear have stalked the neighbourhood because Lady Granville's
elderly personal maid has been found murdered. When Charlotte
meets Lady Granville, she swiftly realises there are two things she cares about
passionately: her young son, Oz, and the medieval garden she has created in the
style of Queen Eleanor of Provence.
At the christening party,
strange events occur. There is an unfortunate incident outside the church,
involving a push of people and an open grave. At the party a guest is taken
ill, but nobody suspects anything as he is elderly and not in good health. Far
more serious is the death, the next day, of a healthy young lady, poisoned,
apparently by the wassail cup that Barnard had served to his guests.
Charlotte is invited to visit Lady
Granville and inspect her garden. She admires the garden and soon grows fond of
young Oz Granville, a lonely, cosseted child. As the incidents continue, Charlotte comes to
suspect that Oz is the intended target and is determined to make sure that he
is safe. When Charlotte
discovers who is behind the murders she finds herself in imminent danger and is
forced to defend herself with a most unusual, not to say bizarre, weapon.
The Dead Queen's Garden is the third book in the
Charlotte Richmond series and the author shows great skill in providing
background information without revealing too much. It is a funny book, which
often moves into farce, but it has a fast-moving mystery and some warmly
engaging characters. It also contains all the average reader will want to know
about historical subjects ranging from medieval gardens to rat-hunting. I have
read the first two books and particularly liked the way the characters have
grown and, in most cases, become more likeable as Charlotte's relationship with them grows
warmer. The Dead Queen's Garden is fast-moving, humorous, historical
crime story. It is a very good read and I would recommend it.
Reviewer: Carol Westron
Nicola Slade was brought up in Poole, Dorset.
She wrote children’s stories when her three children were growing up, moving
onto short stories for several national magazines. Winning a story competition
in Family Circle galvanised her into writing seriously and since then her
stories and articles have been commissioned regularly. Scuba Dancin, a romantic comedy was her first published novel.
that she wrote a series of Victorian mysteries: Murder Most Welcome
published by Robert Hale Ltd, 2008, featuring
Charlotte Richmond, a young widow in the 1850s. Charlotte also features in the second of the
series: Death is the Cure
published by Robert Hale Ltd, at the end of 2009. The third of Charlotte's adventures,The Dead Queen's Garden
, will be
published in December 2013. Murder
, also published by Robert Hale Ltd, came out at the end of
January 2011. This is a contemporary 'cosy' crime novel, featuring former
headmistress, Harriet Quigley, and her sidekick and cousin, Rev Sam Hathaway. A Crowded Coffin'
, is the second
adventure for Harriet and Sam. Nicola, her
husband and their cat live near Winchester
Find out more about Nicola at blog:www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com
Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative
Writing teacher. She is the moderator
for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames. Her crime novels are set both in contemporary
and Victorian times. The Terminal
Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published