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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‘A Hidden Life’ by Mia Emilie (The Watchers Trilogy)
Published by Mia Emilie, 19 August 2019. ISBN 978-1-9161399-0-9 (PB)
This book concerns a fascinating,
real life, unsolved historical mystery - the death in 1560 of Amy Dudley (some
other sources call her Amy Robsart). We plunge into the story when Sir Samuel
Banks, the Sheriff of Oxford, comes to see the body of Lady Dudley which is
laid out in a cellar of Cumnor Place. It is his job, firstly, to find a
jury to ascertain the cause of death. Sam hopes to hand the matter
over to the Justice of the Peace, Reynard, but the man says he is ill and gives
the investigation back to Sam. Sam has been a royal spy and death doctor and
his skills in these regards are valuable as he tries to discover the cause of
the death of Amy Dudley and whether someone was responsible for her death.
way lives are lived in the 16th century is beautifully shown; the ordinary folk
suffer harsh conditions - wearing no shoes, being dirty and being totally
dependent on the masters for food and lodging of the rudest kind, while the men
of the upper echelons have to travel by horseback considerable distances in
foul weather and be prepared to fight those who attack or traduce them.
The political machinations within the Court and parts of society are dangerous
waters for gentlemen to wade through. Those who are embroiled in high
level politics have to have a group of men to use in protection or to attack
other people. Sam’s ability in a fight is a very valuable attribute
which he has to use fairly frequently.
really illustrates the totally different attitudes and circumstances of the
16th century to our own while showing our common humanity over relationships
within and outside families. Realism in her descriptions helps to get
that period feel. She provides details in passing that illuminate the
Elizabethan era, for example, Hugh, the Undersheriff wears his writing
desk - that is he has hanging round his neck a container with parchment, ink
and pen - all men carry daggers, and there is the job of rat catcher in large
houses and Oxford Colleges. Whatever your status in society there is
common ground in the experiences of deaths of children - in this case from the
is a rollicking story - exciting and frightening incidents abound as Sam forges
on in the hope of solving the central mystery of Amy Dudley’s death.
Jennifer S. Palmer
is Mia’s first book and it is the first of the Watchers trilogy which will
consider Amy’s death as three investigators in different eras try to solve the
in South West England with her family, rascally dog and a huge collection of
books. Having studied creative writing from degree to PhD level, Mia was
awarded her doctorate last year and is now a full-time crime writer. A Hidden Life, is her debut novel and
the first instalment in, The Watchers,
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.