The Lady Flirts with Death


In the third book of the Simon and Elizabeth Mysteries, we find the Lady Elizabeth imprisoned in the Tower, accused of treason by her sister, Queen Mary I. Simon Maldon, her old friend, disguises himself as a priest, enabling him to offer his help to the princess, should she need it. What she needs is a friend, and Simon has proven himself that over the years.

On his way to visit Elizabeth, Simon discovers an acquaintance of his, Peto the Pope, is also in the Tower, accused of murder. Peto swears he is innocent and Simon is compelled to investigate the case. Meanwhile, Simon’s wife, Hannah, befriends a pregnant girl. Hannah is grieved that she has not yet had a child, though she and Simon have been married for a while. When the baby is born, Hannah falls in love with the child. Little does Hannah know that the young woman who has just given birth is deeply involved in Simon’s murder case, bringing them all into danger.

Simon and Hannah are likeable characters, and the friendship they share with Elizabeth brings a touch of glamour to their otherwise simple lives. The mystery is not as fully developed as in previous books—the plot is somewhat thin—but overall, this is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award







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