A Lady of the Bedchamber for Queen Elizabeth I wishes to give up her role as a spy, but circumstances force her back into action.
Ursula Blanchard has married for the third time. But her newfound happiness is threatened by the financial dealings of Hugh Stannard, her latest husband. Then Mark Easton comes to her begging for help. His beloved’s family refuses her permission to marry him because of his father Gervase, who’s been widely considered a murderer ever since he committed suicide. Bolstered by generous funding from Mark, Ursula starts to investigate the long-ago poisoning of a rival for the affections of Mark’s mother. In the meantime, the Queen is not about to let Ursula, who is her bastard half sister, forget her obligations at a time when Elizabeth’s enemies in Scotland and the north country are looking for ways to replace her with Mary Queen of Scots. Their interests happily coincide when Ursula’s search for a portrait that may help to prove Gervase innocent takes her to the very area where Elizabeth wants her to investigate traitors. Ursula and her loyal escort travel through a bitter-cold winter landscape to homes that may house both traitors and the elusive portrait.
Fans of Buckley’s long string of clever historical suspensers featuring the resourceful Ursula (The Siren Queen, 2004, etc.) won’t be disappointed.