A TIME TO LOSE by Hugh Preston


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Busy, busy Preston, who made a dreary job of earlier Dudleys (Feast in the Morning, p. 1114), does better with the zippy royal murder mystery triangle of Elizabeth I/Leicester/Amy Robsart. Robert Dudley (later Earl of Leicester) is besotted with his childhood pal Elizabeth, not to mention her throne; she returns his fire, but he is married, and she has all those Elizabethan responsibilities to consider. Unwanted wife Amy, a pathetic, sad creature, wastes away in country lodgings while they daily in Court. She is dying of love, consumption, and/or witchcraft, so she turns to the local wise woman for spells to win back Robert's love and drugs to ease her pain (hensbane does wonders for a broken heart). Poor Amy, She goes Ophelia-mad while Tudor spies watch her every move, and dies opportunely of a most improbable fall downstairs. Murder most foul--but by whom? An oft-told royal whodunit here made somewhat diverting by its self-deceived opportunist hero and its flagrantly unlikely murderer solution.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1977
Publisher: St. Martin's