Harper makes clever use of historical data—the thematic possibilities of a disturbing wax doll, disease, and the martyred...

THE QUEENE’S CURE

Chastened by the near-loss of her throne after the Amy Robsart–Robin Dudley scandal in 1561, Elizabeth Tudor turns her attention away from the desires of her body and focuses on its health and that of the body politic. As pox and plots erupt all around—all too close when barriers are breached by a pox-marked effigy that lands in her carriage and a pox-marked body in her walled garden—she finds herself terrified, beset, and more solitary than ever. She keeps former heartthrob Dudley at arm’s length after the notoriety of his wife’s death and exiles or imprisons royal Greys and Stewarts for plots against her. In the face of disease, Elizabeth needs her trusted herbalist Meg Milligrew (The Tidal Poole, 2000, etc.), earlier sent from court for hiding secrets about her past life. She certainly doesn’t trust physicians from the Royal College. Drs. Peter Pascal and John Caius are not only hair-shirt–wearing papists, they ignore their duties in favor of abusing apothecaries like Meg and shunning progressive Dr. Marcus Clerewell for his infectious–water-droplet theory of pestilence. All these players abuse their powers, and each other, until the sleuthing Elizabeth lands in a sick bed and readers sort out a medieval melodrama.

Harper makes clever use of historical data—the thematic possibilities of a disturbing wax doll, disease, and the martyred Sir Thomas More—but buries a promising medical/political mystery beneath mad villainy; an inviting puzzle beneath too many lost voices, children, and wives; and engaging characters beneath queenly ranting and a too-obvious red herring.

Pub Date: April 2, 2002

ISBN: 0-385-33478-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

ARCHIE GOES HOME

In Archie Goodwin's 15th adventure since the death of his creator, Rex Stout, his gossipy Aunt Edna Wainwright lures him from 34th Street to his carefully unnamed hometown in Ohio to investigate the death of a well-hated bank president.

Tom Blankenship, the local police chief, thinks there’s no case since Logan Mulgrew shot himself. But Archie’s mother, Marjorie Goodwin, and Aunt Edna know lots of people with reason to have killed him. Mulgrew drove rival banker Charles Purcell out of business, forcing Purcell to get work as an auto mechanic, and foreclosed on dairy farmer Harold Mapes’ spread. Lester Newman is convinced that Mulgrew murdered his ailing wife, Lester’s sister, so that he could romance her nurse, Carrie Yeager. And Donna Newman, Lester’s granddaughter, might have had an eye on her great-uncle’s substantial estate. Nor is Archie limited to mulling over his relatives’ gossip, for Trumpet reporter Verna Kay Padgett, whose apartment window was shot out the night her column raised questions about the alleged suicide, is perfectly willing to publish a floridly actionable summary of the leading suspects that delights her editor, shocks Archie, and infuriates everyone else. The one person missing is Archie’s boss, Nero Wolfe (Death of an Art Collector, 2019, etc.), and fans will breathe a sigh of relief when he appears at Marjorie’s door, debriefs Archie, notices a telltale clue, prepares dinner for everyone, sleeps on his discovery, and arranges a meeting of all parties in Marjorie’s living room in which he names the killer.

The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5040-5988-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Mysterious Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

You can’t help but chuckle over all the disasters, but in the end the heroine catches her prey.

DRESSED UP 4 MURDER

An Arizona accountant with a penchant for solving murders lands a fishy case.

Sophie "Phee" Kimball might lead a dull life if it weren’t for her mother, Harriet Plunkett, and Harriet’s neurotic Chiweenie, Streetman. As it is, Harriet lives near her daughter in Sun City West and has a wide circle of zany friends who’ve helped Phee solve several mysteries (Molded 4 Murder, 2019, etc.) while she’s been working for Williams Investigations along with her boyfriend, Marshall, a former police officer. While Phee’s visiting Harriet one day, Streetman dashes over to the neighbors’ barbecue grill and unearths a dead body under a tarp. As usual, the overwhelmed local police ask Williams Investigations to help—er, consult. Harriet’s main concern is getting costumes made for the reluctant Streetman, whom she’s entered in a series of contests starting with Halloween and progressing through Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hannukah, and St. Patrick’s Day. One of her friends is an accomplished seamstress who goes all out making gorgeous costumes that will beat an obnoxious lady who looks down on mutts. The dead man is identified as Cameron Tully, a seafood distributor, who was poisoned by the locally ubiquitous sago pine. At the first dog contest, Elaine Meschow has to be rushed to the hospital after she gets a dose of the same thing. The owner of a gourmet dog food company, Elaine is lucky enough to recover. After Streetman takes second place, Harriet’s team redoubles its efforts for the next contest while Phee and Marshall, who are moving into a new place together, continue to hunt for clues. A restaurant holdup and a scheme to use empty houses for hookups for high school kids add to the confusion.

You can’t help but chuckle over all the disasters, but in the end the heroine catches her prey.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4967-2455-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more