St. Martin's, June 2004, 23.95, 256 pp.
In 1472,, Canterbury physician Kathryn Swinbrooke and her bridegroom Colum Murtagh are doing the King's business in the English village of Walmer, but also spending time alone in a place of their choice. Lord Henry is a close confident of King Edward IV and he has invited three of the French King's advisors to his manor house to see if they can agree to terms for a peace treaty between the two countries. Colum and Kathryn are investigating a claim that Lord Henry killed his wife.
In Walmer, someone is poisoning the villagers who killed the three Lancaster supporters who came to the village after the Yorkists won the war. None of the victims are innocent, most are criminals but Kathryn knows murder is illegal no matter the motive. She investigates, but almost gets herself killed by an archer with a deadly arrow. The murders in the village spread to the manor house where one of the French delegates is poisoned. To avoid a possible war between the two countries, Kathryn uses her skills to identify who is behind the Walmer murders. Now she just has to live long enough to prove it.
Fans of Sharon Kay Penman and Roberta Gellis will appreciate the storytelling abilities of C.L. Grace and the meticulous research that found its way into the plot, making it an entertaining as well as educational reading experience. The protagonist is a strong willed independent in an era when females were considered chattel of their men folks. C.L. Grace makes the aftermath of the War of the Roses come alive to appreciative readers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner