Face Down Beside St. Anne’s Well
In 1575 Susanna Appleton, gentlewoman and herbalist, visits the Buxton spa, Derbyshire, one sometimes frequented by Mary, Queen of Scots. Ostensibly there for the healing waters, Susanna’s true purpose is to help her twelve-year-old stepdaughter, Rosamund, investigate the suspicious death of her French governess. The imprisoned Mary Stuart is not a character here, but rumors of plots for her escape swirl through the narrative. Was the Frenchwoman killed because of a conspiracy to aid Queen Mary, or was her death due to the jealousy of one of her many lovers?
Fans of Emerson’s well-crafted series will note that this entry centers on the quick-witted, rebellious Rosamund, no longer a child in the background as in previous stories. As her birth mother and stepmother contest their respective claims to custody, all three band together to separate friend from foe and unmask a killer. Historical notes and glossary show Emerson’s research, meticulous but not intrusive. This author brings alive a detailed recreation of the daily life of the Elizabethan gentry. 10th in series.