The court of Elizabeth I is no stranger to plotting and intrigue, but the royal retinue is thrown into chaos when the Queen’s youngest and sweetest lady-in-waiting is murdered, her body left on the high altar of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall Palace. Solving the murder will require the cunning and savvy possessed by only one man. Enter Nicholas Holt, younger brother of the Earl of Blackwell—spy, rake, and owner of the infamous Black Sheep tavern in the seedy district of Bankside. Nick quickly learns that working for the Queen is a mixed blessing. Elizabeth—salty-tongued, vain, and fiercely intelligent—can, with a glance, either reward Nick with a purse of gold or have his head forcibly removed.
When a second lady-in-waiting is slain at Whitehall, the court once again reels with shock and dismay. On the trail of a diabolical killer, Nick and his faithful sidekick—an enormous Irish Wolfhound named Hector—are treading on treacherous ground, and only the killer’s head on a platter can keep them in the Queen’s good graces.
The novel primarily follows main character, Nicholas, a spy for Elizabeth’s court under her "spymaster", Walsingham. When one of the queen’s ladies-in-waiting is murdered and laid out in the palace chapel, a royal crisis emerges. Is this a threat against Elizabeth's rule? Is there a killer lurking among the shadows of court? It’s Nicholas who’s called in to investigate the crime and find a murderer, and he's clearly just the man for the job. Well-liked and respected by the queen, you can't help but like him as a character. He's responsible, professional, kind-hearted, and diligent. He also has a dog named Hector who plays a starring role in several scenes - what's not to like about that? All in all, Nicholas works nicely in this role.
There are several suspects as we go through this mystery, which kept me entertained and curious up to the end. And when yet another lady is brutally murdered in the wine cellar, the tension and urgency amps up. How many murderers are there? What’s the motive? Will Nicholas find the suspect and bring him or her to justice before even more people are killed? Overall, I liked the pace of this story, because it kept you guessing, and Nicholas became more and more urgent in his detective work. Without giving anything away, of course, I'll say the ending left me completely satisfied, and wrapped up all questions quite nicely.
I'm very grateful, once again, to Amy Bruno and Suzanne M. Wolfe, for the opportunity to read and review this novel and to be a part of this exciting tour. I hope you've enjoyed my review, and that you're intrigued enough to 1) enter the tour-wide book giveaway (details below), and/or 2) purchase the book themselves. Read on and learn about this talented author, as well as how to get your hands on this highly entertaining story!
Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and taught literature and creative writing there for nearly two decades. Wolfe is the author of three novels: A Murder by Any Name, The Confessions of X, and Unveiling.
Thirty years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families. Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington. You can keep up with her on her website, as well as Facebook and Twitter.
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 3 hardcover copies of A Murder By Any Name! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
- Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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- Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.