The Fatal Fashione Mass Market Paperback – 28 November 2006
- Publisher : St Martins Pr; Reprint edition (28 November 2006)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312941935
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312941932
- Dimensions : 10.8 x 2.15 x 17.02 cm
- Customer Reviews:
From the Back Cover
Someone in the Queen's Court has a deadly sense of style. . . .
In 1566, Elizabeth Tudor faces tremendous opposition from Parliament for ruling England without the help of a husband. Instead, she turns to her Privy Plot Council for help, only to discover from her royal herbalist that a woman has drowned in a tub of starch. Soon another garment worker meets the same rigid fate. Elizabeth becomes unbending in her attempts to solve the murders, as well as iron out the problems of her kingdom. But with her list of suspects growingand firm evidence pointing to those she trusts the mostElizabeth must hang the murderer out to dry or risk losing her reign or her life.
"Harper is Tudor England's answer to V.I. Warshawski."
"[A] thrilling blend of historical detail and intriguing mystery. [Harper's] Queen Elizabeth I possesses the fine detective's instinct of Sherlock Holmes."
Lisa Gardner, author of The Other Daughter
"Historical-mystery lovers should rejoice at [Harper's] latest installment."
About the Author
KAREN HARPER is the author of seven previous Elizabeth I mysteries, The Poyson Garden, The Tidal Poole, The Twylight Tower, The Queen's Cure, The Thorne Maze, The Queene's Christmas, and The Fyre Mirror. She also writes bestselling contemporary suspense novels. Karen lives in Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida.
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As in the previous novels in the series, the peace of Elizabeth's kingdom is threatened by murder most foul. Harper does a nice job of juxtaposing the murder mystery with Elizabeth's fears of a northern uprising and the queen's constant worries over exactly how much of a threat Mary, Queen of Scots posed. I think this nicely shows how Elizabeth was concerned not only with the political in that she frets about the well-being of her country as a whole but also the personal in that she takes such an interest in her subjects.
Harper's other strength are her secondary characters. Those who have read the series have likely come to feel like Meg, Jenks, and Ned are friends and it is always welcome to read about the characters triumphs and to worry about their misfortunes. I felt the same sense of urgency Elizabeth felt when one of her favorites was placed in a position of grave danger.
As for the mystery itself, it is well-plotted and it is always intriguing to see how Harper uses period details to create innovative methods of executing a crime. This book's victim meets her end in the very vat in which she starches the highly fashionable ruffs that are helping her to earn her fortune. This is characteristic of Harper's writing in that the ends that the unfortunate victims meet provide a peek into the clever and diabolical minds of their killers.
Also admirable is the deft way in which Harper weaves the romances of secondary characters skillfully into the narrative to serve as emphasis of the lonely position that Elizabeth has chosen for herself. I've certainly always understood that Elizabeth's defiance when it came to the subject of marriage was certainly a political risk but it was Harper who made me begin to think of what a personal risk it must have been.