Dunne, Feb 2004, 23.95, 304 pp.
On a whim, Queen Elizabeth I decides to leave her London residence and stay at Nonsuch Palace for a while. Beside the courtiers and the rest of the retinue who make up Elizabeth's inner circle, she takes along artists, who are painting a state picture of her and she will pick the one that is the best and send it all over Europe. Gil Sharpe, who was sent to Italy to learn with the masters goes to Nonsuch and decides to enter the competition to paint his Queen's portrait.
Since Nonsuch is small, many of the people who traveled with Elizabeth are staying in the courtyard in tents. One of the artist's tents catches fire, killing him and his assistant. It is determined that the fire was deliberately set using a mirror and the sun to start the flames. A second artist's tent is also burned in the same manner. Elizabeth convinces her Privy Plot council to help her smoke out the killer but the perpetrator is very cunning. Elizabeth finds her own life is put in danger by a person without mercy.
There are so many suspects with too few motives. Readers see the intelligence of the queen as she maneuvers Mary, Queen of Scots into a marriage of her choosing and plans to use her as a public relations tool to prove she is a queen in total command of the kingdom she rules.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner