Kate Sheridan is at Blenheim Palace to research King Henry's mistress Rosamund, said to have been poisoned there by Eleanor of Aquitaine. But her visit takes a strange turn when her hosts unwittingly begin to relive the legend.
In Paige's middling 11th historical (after 2004's Death in Hyde Park), detecting couple Lord Charles and Kate Sheridan are guests in 1903 at Blenheim Palace, hereditary home of the dukes of Marlborough, when one of the maids disappears. A greater disturbance erupts when another woman vanishes--the mistress of the current duke--amid signs of possible foul play. With a royal visit on the horizon, the Sheridans, a devoted pair (though lacking the depth of David Dickinson's Powerscourts in his historical series set in the same period), enlist the aid of an eager young T.E. Lawrence, who goes undercover on the palace's staff. Lawrence, with improbable speed, manages to gain the trust of a crooked servant implicated in a burglary ring specializing in the theft of precious stones. There's little mystery about the murderer's identity, though a major, and more interesting, enigma remains unresolved, until perhaps the next book in the series. Winston Churchill buffs might find his featured role of interest, but the historical loom on which this tale is spun is just not sturdy enough. (Feb. 1)
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February 06, 2006
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