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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Published by Sphere, 14
January 2016. ISBN: 978-0-7515-5283-6
The year is 1665 and London is in the grip of the plague. The English
have just defeated the Dutch fleet at the battle of Lowestoft and have returned
to Harwich. Thomas Chaloner , spy for the Earl of Clarendon is among them. The
King and many of the nobility are preparing to go to Hampton Court to escape
Thomas Chaloner is engaged to go to Chelsea and visit
a house, Gorges, an asylum for women. There have been many thefts and the Earl
is one of the benefactors. Chaloner also learns of a murder of one of the
inmates, a girl by the name of Nancy, she has been strangled.
While Chaloner is at a party being given by the Earl,
also in Chelsea, there is another murder, actually in the Earl's house, and
Chaloner is told to look into the stranglings.
Rumours abound concerning a “spectre” that many people
claim to have seen and when the murders start to mount up they suspect the
“ghostly figure” but Chaloner is not so sure.
In the same vicinity is a Theological College being
used to hold Dutch prisoners from the battle of Lowestoft. Chaloner is told to
check on the security there whilst he is in the area. He tries to inspect the
prison but is frustrated when it is obvious part of it is not what he is given
to believe. He manages to sneak back in and finds evidence of corruption and
bribery along with a list of names of the King's enemies. Could these be men
held secretly in the prison? Chaloner only just manages to escape with his
Near the prison is the Rectory run by a seemingly
eccentric Reverend Wilkinson who talks continuously to his compost heap! What
has he to do with strange goings on in the Rectory itself?
There follows one peculiar episode after another and
Chaloner has to call upon all his wits to solve the many puzzles.
This is a really good book, full of interesting
historical snippets. Susanna Gregory has created a wonderfully atmospheric
London , I was almost worried about catching the plague! I am really interested
in history and the historical notes at the back are worth reading. Many of the
characters in the book actually did exist.
A great story weaving a really tangled web cleverly
untangled by a persistent Chaloner.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell
Susanna Gregory was raised in Bristol. After graduating from
university, she spent three years in Leeds, as an officer in the West Yorkshire
Police, before taking up an academic career. She has served as an environmental
consultant, doing fieldwork with whales, seals and walruses during seventeen
field seasons in the polar regions, and has taught comparative anatomy and
biological anthropology. She is the creator of the Thomas Chaloner series of
mysteries set in Restoration London as well as the Matthew Bartholomew books,
and now lives in Wales with her husband, who is also a writer.
I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I
play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love
is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for
plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots
of great new authors.