What do the years 1415 and 1901 have in common? It’s up to a married pair of sleuths to discover the answer.
On her deathbed, Queen Victoria hands Colin Hargreaves, her favorite agent of the crown, an envelope with a cryptic message and tells him, “Take this and do as it says.” Soon thereafter, he’s called to London for a strange murder, accompanied of course by his wife, Lady Emily, who’s no stranger to all manner of violent crime (Death in St. Petersburg, 2017, etc.). In the Tower of London they find a dead man costumed and posed as Henry VI. Inspector Gale of Scotland Yard promptly banishes Emily and jumps to the conclusion that the death is meant as a threat to Edward VII. A label in the clothing of the next victim, who’s posed as Edward II, leads them to a costume supplier who’s sold two more costumes to a Mr. Smith—Richard II and Harold Godwinson, suggesting more deaths to come. While they wait on future events, Colin and Emily each follow their own leads in an attempt to link the dead men. Neither was a nice person, but no enemies stand out. More cryptic clues in the same hand as the first message continue to turn up without illuminating crimes that are linked to historical deaths yet very contemporary. Although Colin still worries about the threat to the king, Emily, who’s certain that the deaths have nothing to do with him, hunts for clues in some of the poorest and most dangerous areas of London. More deaths follow as the sleuths desperately try to uncover the vital clue that will help them catch a killer.
Alexander, who’s adept at mixing historical facts with mysteries, includes chapters featuring a tale from 1415 that’s easily as interesting as the convoluted mystery that finally brings past and present together.