In today’s Mystery Monday meme, Thomas Chaloner is on another harrowing adventure, not sure on whom he can rely, making enemies, uneasy in his new second marriage, and trying to protect the fragile peace between the Dutch and the English in 1664 Restoration England, where the mood is one of relishing war, and it’s dangerous for a Dutchman to be out on the the streets in London.
Weeks late in returning to England due to constant violent weather, Chaloner only arrives just in time for his wedding to Hannah, lady in waiting to the queen. The storm competes with shouted wedding vows, rain leaks through the roof, and an uninvited acquaintance who has slipped in to the back of the church has a knife with a message slipped between his shoulder blades. An ominous beginning, followed quickly by Thomas’ brother-in-law, a member of the peace delegation from the Hague, being the “body in the Thames”.
This is a typically intricate Susanna Gregory novel where Chaloner has several seemingly impossible tasks to resolve and more than one person trying to discredit him and sidetrack his enquiries. His dedication leads him into many dangerous situations and, often, his assistance or betrayal comes from surprising sources. While he questions whether what he feels for Hannah is love, he does know that he would protect her with his life — which he may well have to do. A rip-roaring, swashbuckling adventure that will keep you guessing right to the end. * * * * *