An accidental, hidden witness to her father's murder, Alice escapes to York and is diguised as one of the boys in the cathedral choir school. Hilgartner generates some suspense late in the book when the murderers discover ""Alister's"" identity, and young readers should enjoy the subsequent chase. But they'll be cheated of the historical adventure this might have been: the author has little feel, unfortunately, for either the flavor or details of the Elizabethan setting. The children talk and behave like modern Americans; anachronisms are too many to list, but ""mascot,"" for one, is a word first recorded about 1880; and tea first reached Britain around 1650. On the other hand, the music, which plays an important role in the plot (Alice is a prodigy, revered by her adult teachers), seems authentic and is described with sensitivity. Hilgartner is a competent storyteller; perhaps next time she'll set her story in the present or take more care with her setting.