DEATH OF THE DUCHESS by Elizabeth Eyre


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Eyre, a pseudonym for the authors also writing as Susannah Stacey (the Inspector Bone series), turns to Renaissance Italy for this first in a series--a clue-laden tale of political alliances, court intrigue, and romantic folderol. When Jacopo di Torre discovers that his daughter has been abducted, he insists it's the work of his enemy Ugo Bandini. But the Duke of Rocca's emissary--the tall, strong, incisive Sigismondo--is not quite so easy to convince, particularly when the Duke's Duchess is soon murdered in her chambers, and Bandini's son is implicated. Sigismondo, abetted by the not-so-simple simpleton Benno, interviews the household dwarfs; impersonates a nun and reconnoiters a cloister; effects an escape from a dungeon; and engineers a mock-wedding ceremony between the (reclaimed) abductee and the (liberated) cellar-dweller; then, with the cool aplomb of an early-Italianate Sherlock Holmes, untangles the convoluted rivalries, explains away the red herrings, and, with the lice-infected Benno at his side, heads off in search of other adventures. The earnest tone, preponderance of clues, teeming-with-historical-facts narrative--all (with a few deletions) seem better suited to the YA market. As do the characters here.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1992
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich