Murder at Hatfield House
by Amanda Carmack
Mass Market Paperback:
Publisher: Obsidian Mystery
Released: October 1, 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
1558. England is in tumult under the rule of Queen Mary and her Spanish husband. Confined to house arrest at Hatfield House, young Princess Elizabeth is the country’s greatest hope. Far from court intrigues, Elizabeth finds solace in simple things: the quiet countryside and peaceful recreation, including the melodies of her chief musician and his daughter, Kate Haywood.
But Kate will prove herself most valuable when an envoy of the queen—sent to flush out heretics in the princess’s household—is found dead on the grounds of Hatfield. Acting as Elizabeth’s eyes and ears, Kate is sent out on the trail of a killer whose mission could destroy her family, friends—and the future of England
Murder at Hatfield House is a historical mystery set in the autumn of 1558 in England. Purely as a historical novel, I enjoyed the story. The historical details brought the time period vividly alive in my imagination. The main characters reacted realistically to events and gained my sympathy. I felt suspense about the physical danger to Kate and Princess Elizabeth even though I knew how it had to turn out; yes, they'd survive, but at what cost?
However, there were some serious flaws with the mystery. I could quickly guess who was intended to be whodunit by the hints given throughout the story, yet logically that person couldn't be whodunit. The murderer would have had to know something no one else knew and be at two places at once during at least two murders. I expected the author to explain these problems away, but they never were explained.
[VAGUE SPOILER] Whodunit would have had to know when the target, Braceton, would be coming to Hatfield House. However, no one at Hatfield House expected him. He was running late by his own schedule. Even if someone knew when he was coming, they'd have to wait for him for some time and hope their absence wasn't noticed. Whodunit was then closely pursued into the house after the murder. When you know who the murderer is, though, this seems impossible for whodunit to pull off, or at least with no one noticing anything.[END SPOILER]
There was no sex. There was one use of "modern" bad language and a minor amount of swearing using God's body parts (teeth, toe, wounds, blood). Overall, I'd recommend this as a historical novel to Queen Elizabeth fans, but not as a mystery.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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