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Saturday 24 June 2017

'The Cardinal's Court by Cora Harrison

Published by The History Press,
24 April 2017.  
ISBN 978-0-7509-6839-3

Hilary Mantell isn't the only one to write about Anne Boleyn - here is a fascinating story about Anne’s earlier life as lady in waiting to Queen Catherine at the English Court.  The book is set in 1522 with the action almost all happening at Hampton Court.  Hugh Mac Egan is an Irish lawyer whose task is to draw up a marriage contract between James Butler, son of his employer, an Irish Earl, and Anne Boleyn thus solving an inheritance dispute.  Unfortunately, the lady has fallen in love with Harry Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland.  

A member of the Cardinal's staff is found dead in the Great Hall and an arrow has fallen from his body.   Both Percy and Anne say that they saw the arrow fired by James Butler and that it was a real arrow unlike the imitation arrows that were being fired during a pageant by Butler and others.

Hugh must defend James from an accusation of murder punishable by execution.  Hugh tells us that under Irish law a large fine would be levied on the murderer to be paid to the victim’s family.

Hugh must exonerate his patron's heir by discovering what happened and who the murderer was.  This is no easy process complicated by the machinations of various courtiers and the unpleasant behaviour of the murdered man as a blackmailer.   Further deaths happen.  We get a fascinating picture of the way the Cardinal's Court worked and in particular, of the delicious food served at his banquets.

A most enjoyable historical crime novel.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Cora Harrison has written extensively for children and has the lengthy series of  Burren Mysteries set in 16th century Ireland.
Cora Harrison was born in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, but lived in Cork city for most of her life until she was twenty-one. While her children were growing up, she became a primary school teacher and loved teaching. Although she enjoyed teaching she enjoys writing stories even more. It still gives her a thrill to see her books in the shops!

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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