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Wednesday 19 June 2019

‘A Suspicion of Silver’ by P.F. Chisholm

Published by Head of Zeus,
7 March 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-78854978-3 (HB)

In 1571 the Hochstetter family, Daniel, Radagunda and their children arrive in England from Augsburg. They set up a mining company and a smelting business in Keswick, living on an island on Derwent water. In 1581 Daniel dies but Radagunda carries on running the companies.

The action then advances to 1593 and Sir Robert Carey, deputy warden of the West March receives a directive from Sir Robert Cecil in London. A Jonathan Hepburn is suspected of plotting to poison King James of Scotland and he is thought to live in Keswick. Carey is to go there and under the pretext of inspecting the mines and smelting works, find him and kill him.

Carey soon realises that Joachim Hochstetter son of Radagunda is the real name of Hepburn. It becomes clear that he is a ruthless killer and will stop at nothing to remain a free man, murdering all who knew about his plot to kill the King. Carey becomes a target himself and is in constant fear of his life.

While carrying out his inspection of the mines, much to his amazement, he finds more than he bargained for. A very big secret is being kept and it becomes imperative that he reports his discovery to the authorities. However, the people involved have other ideas and are just as determined to prevent him.

There follows a desperate race for his life through the endless tunnels of the mines. Not only must he evade his would-be killers, but he must also overcome his great fear of enclosed dark spaces.  Can he make it out alive and report his important findings to the right people?

A fast-moving tale of the 1500's which I thoroughly enjoyed. The description of Carey's fight against his claustrophobia is great and his fear is quite palpable.

The story is made all the more interesting by the fact that the Hochstetter family really did exist and lived on Vicar's Island in Keswick. Mining and smelting were also carried out in the area continuing until the seventeenth century.

This book will really appeal to readers interested in the 1500's and how the people lived in those days, life was really cheap. A great read.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

P F Chisholm is a pseudonym used by Patricia Finney.  She has been writing since she was seven, writing novels and screenplays since the age of fifteen and a published author since she was 18. She has a degree in Modern History from Oxford University.  Her career to date has also included stints as a newspaper columnist, magazine editor, property developer, hospital administrator, pastry chef, stand-up comedian, film scriptwriter and entrepreneur. She is now back in England after two and a half wonderful years in the south of Spain where she learnt Spanish, a little flamenco dancing and how to drink coffee and cognac at 8.00 in the morning. 

Tricia Chappell. 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.

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