A lady of strong character is recruited as a spy in 1582 England.
Rosamond Jaffrey is the bastard daughter of Queen Elizabeth’s former agent Sir Robert Appleton, whose wife is no stranger to mysterious deaths (Face Down Beside St. Anne’s Well, 2006, etc.). Spurning her birth mother’s matchmaking, Rosamond has married and is currently estranged from Rob Jaffrey , who she believes is studying at Cambridge. When she married, Rosamond got control of her fortune and cut herself off from her family. But Master Nicholas Baldwin, a man she thinks of as an uncle, has come to London to recruit her as a spy for Sir Francis Walsingham, the queen’s secretary. Baldwin taught Rosamond Russian. She also knows French and has acquired a working knowledge of Polish from her maid. So Baldwin feels she’s the right person to take on the delicate job of watching Lady Mary Hastings, cousin to the queen. The Russians have sent an emissary from Czar Ivan IV to enter into negotiations for his marriage to Lady Mary. Rosamond is anything but eager to become a waiting gentlewoman to Lady Mary, but when Baldwin tells her that Rob is in Moscow and in danger due to the czar’s capricious temper, she agrees. While Lady Mary and her ladies are visiting the queen’s wardrobe to pick out a gown, Rosamond’s contact there dies by poison. Soon afterward, Lady Mary herself is poisoned but survives. Rosamond suspects the other waiting gentlewomen because they’re close to Lady Mary. But which one could possibly want her dead? Despite orders to ignore the murder, Rosamond investigates and puts herself in danger.
Emerson’s headstrong sleuth, first introduced in her Lady Appleton series, begins a diverting series of her own with lots of twists and turns and Tudor tidbits.