St. Martin's, Feb 203, 23.95, 288 pp.
With the plague in London, Queen Elizabeth I and her retinue move to Hampton Court, one of her favorite residences. There is a maze on the property that everyone admires especially Sir William Cecil's mentor Templar Sutton. One night after a play is performed; the queen sneaks away to the opening of the maze where she has arranged to meet her admirer Robert Dudley. Before that rendezvous can take place, someone lays hands on the queen, a treasonous offense touching the monarch, but worse still tries to strangle her highness before escaping into the maze.
When the maze is searched, nobody is there and Robert tells her he received a note stating she changed their meeting place to the stables. Determined to get to the bottom of this she reconvenes the Privy Plot Council consisting of trusted servants and Sir Cecil. When Templar Sutton is found in the maze, the obvious victim of a murderer, Elizabeth is determined to find the killer. When the plague moves towards Hampton Court, the queen and her court retires to Hatfield Manor where she intends to bait a killer with a trap he can't resist.
THE THORNE MAZE gives an insightful look into the mindset of Queen Elizabeth I during the sixth year during of her reign. History comes alive in this book as historical personages act true to character in their relationship to their queen. The mystery is interestingly plotted with so many suspects that readers will have a jolly good time trying to figure out the identity of the villain. Karen Harper is the grandmistress of the Elizabethan mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner