Publishers WeeklySimon Maldon, an apothecary’s apprentice, earned the trust of the future Elizabeth I in Herring’s first mystery, Her Highness’ First Murder (2010), set in 1546. Six years later, Simon’s and Elizabeth’s paths cross again in this engaging sequel after a murderer strikes in London’s Whitehall palace. It’s a particularly sensitive time, as England’s young ruler, Edward VI, is in failing health, and several would-be successors are vying for the throne. Many fear that the person who fatally poisoned Lord Amberson, a trusted adviser of the king’s, may have been trying to frame Elizabeth for the crime. When the king summons Simon’s master, Carthburt, to Whitehall to try to identify the agent of death, Simon goes along and gets involved in the inquiry. Herring does a nice job of making Elizabeth a plausible partner in detection and the life-and-death intrigues of the period fresh and compelling. (Nov.)
Library JournalApothecary apprentice Simon Maldon returns in this dynamic sequel to Her Highness' First Murder when a nobleman is poisoned within London's Whitehall Palace. Elizabeth Tudor contacts Simon because she's afraid her brother, the ill King Edward, might have been the target. Soon, Hannah, Simon's fiancée, is working undercover in the palace, and she and the princess devise how to coordinate their sleuthing with Simon while he works with other trusted officials to ferret out the truth. Further poisonings and "accidents" increase the urgency as Elizabeth realizes she is being set up to take the fall. Can these three figure out who stands to gain the most in this closed-room drama? VERDICT Herring weaves a nifty tale of cunning and danger. Think of this series as a must-read prequel to other excellent mysteries featuring Queen Elizabeth I, such as those by Karen Harper. Featuring detailed settings, ample wit, and a fast pace, this historical shines. [See Prepub Alert, 8/2/11.]
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Poison, Your Grace based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
In 1552, King Edward VI sends a messenger to escort Thomas Carthburt Master Apothecary to Whitehall. His apprentice Simon Maldon accompanies Master Carthburt. Thomas explains to his apprentice the king wants to know what killed Lord Amberson who was healthy while dining with the monarch when suddenly he was in horrific agony. Carthburt believes arsenic poisoning is the cause. Lord Protector Dudley assigns the apothecary to provide whatever the king requires to keep him safe, but warns them to be silent and not to investigate. A second death occurs when Marie apparently trips and breaks her neck. While everyone assumes a sad accident happened, Simon wonders otherwise with two deaths on the same day being quite a coincidence. Most at Whitehall look at ambitious Princess Elizabeth, second in line to the throne, as trying to poison her ailing brother. Elizabeth fears the real culprit is framing her and will try again so she contacts Simon to assist her like he did six years ago (see Her Highness' First Murder). Simon's fiancée Hannah, transfers from Hampstead Castle to go undercover at Whitehall. Additional poisonings and other accidents all point at Elizabeth. With Simon and Hannah, Elizabeth investigates the closed castle conspiracy. The key to the Simon & Elizabeth (& Hannah) Mystery is that the princess comes across plausible as an amateur sleuth. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the messenger escorts to the apothecary and his apprentice to the palace and never slows down until the final denouement. Fans of Karen Harper's Elizabeth I Mystery and Fiona Buckley's Ursula Blanchard Mystery will want to read this strong entry that occurs several years before the princess becomes the queen. Harriet Klausner