Much has been written, in fact and fiction, about Amy and whether her death was an unfortunate accident or murder. If murder, was her husband Robert Dudley involved? Was Queen Elizabeth, who adored Dudley, responsible?
Chisolm presents a new theory and has done a lot of research to make the theory plausible. While the truth will never be known, the circumstances give rise to plenty of speculation, and Chisolm has used many primary documents to develop his plot.
I have not read the previous novels in this series, but I did enjoy this one. Sir Robert Carey is a protagonist with flaws; he is often humorously egotistical, but is essentially a good man with a talent for solving mysteries.
Robert Carey is the son of Elizabeth's half brother, Lord Hunsdon. Hunsdon was the son of Mary Boleyn, and many believe, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII. Carey is, therefore, both Elizabeth's nephew and second cousin.
When Elizabeth orders him to investigate the death of Amy Robsart Dudley, Carey knows that the investigation of a thirty-year-old death will be dangerous for him. The possibility that Elizabeth herself may have been involved concerns him.
The story line of Carey's man, Sergeant Henry Dobson is equally interesting. Dobson provides plenty of action on his own.
I enjoyed the mystery and the researching on line for some of what is documented about Amy's death and the consequences thereof.
My main complaint is that Chisholm refers to Scots as Scotch. I've always heard that the preferred choice is either Scots or Scottish. However, Scotch is an archaic term, and although I found it jarring, I guess it is appropriate.
Amusing, but crude, definition from Urban Dictionary:
Most definitely does not mean 'Scottish' when describing people. It is often used to describe liquor, eggs and beef among other things.
Those who call Scottish people 'Scotch' are often corrected with a polite saying-so, or a "F__ off, you stupid American bastard!", depending on how much Scotch the Scottish person has recently imbibed.
Stereotypical American - "Hey you're Scotch! Isn't Scotland in England?"
Drunken Scot - "F__ off, you stupid American bastard!"
Any hoo, a good historic mystery with interesting characters and an engrossing plot. There are six previous books in this series that I may be looking up soon.
Read in Nov., 2013. Review scheduled for Jan., 2014.
NetGalley/Poisoned Pen Press
Historic Mystery. Feb. 4, 2014. Print version: 250 pages.