Queen without a Crown: An Ursula Blanchard Mystery
In this ninth installment in the series, Ursula, now happily remarried and living a quiet existence as Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting, seeks to remain as anonymous as possible. However, having been the queen’s spy has its definite disadvantages.
Ursula is universally known in the Court to be indispensable to the queen, independent and wise. Her counsel is sought out by a young man whose engagement to the sister of Ursula’s former ward has been ended by her family because, when he was a small boy, his father is believed to have poisoned a man. Although Ursula wants to see the young people happily married, her main motive for accepting the assignment is that the young man will pay her handsomely, thereby saving her ailing husband’s dearest homestead which is deeply in debt.
Along the way, Ursula naturally finds herself in the darkest danger, accompanied by her closest companions, as they together undertake to learn not merely the truth about the poisoner but about a rebellion brewing in the North against Elizabeth, Buckley has created another eminently readable and enjoyable book, peopled by lovingly created characters, both charming and not so, and with a plot that twists and turns. True to the time with its political and familial intrigues, this is a delightful book. Although I have not read all of the other eight installments, this is easily a stand-alone because the reader gets sucked in right away by Ursula’s brains, wit and charm.