The Lady Grace Mysteries: Haunted
1570. Queen Elizabeth is on her summer Royal Progress and the court is staying with Reynold Waldegrave, 5th Earl of Medenham, who is in the throes of building a magnificent new house. He plans various spectacular entertainments to prove his loyalty – his new house will be E-shaped in honour of the queen. But things are not going according to plan. The half-demolished old manor is rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of the murdered 1st earl and the workmen are threatening to down tools.
The queen can ignore mere rumour, but when, during a terrifying storm, the spectre is seen by all, pointing at the earl and then vanishing, leaving the word ‘traitor’ in blood on the window, things turn more serious. If Elizabeth decides to leave Medenham Manor, the earl’s reputation will be in shreds. But Grace has her suspicions about the so-called ghost. Would a 200-year-old ghost really wear an Elizabethan ruff? Or is somebody trying to ruin the earl’s reputation and, if so, who and why? Grace and her friends, the tumbler Masou and the put-upon laundry maid Ellie, must uncover the mystery – fast.
I enjoyed this. I like the glimpses behind stage which illuminate the Elizabethan world: the kitchens’ frantic preparations for a feast, for example, or Grace needing a maid to tie on her sleeves, which were separate from the bodice.
One minor caveat. The earl is correctly Lord Medenham, not Lord Reynold. He would only be Lord Reynold if he were the second or subsequent son of a duke or marquess. (Lord Robert Dudley, a minor character in the book, was the 5th son of the Duke of Northumberland, which outranked his earldom.) Still, the book gallops along at a tremendous pace and is a great read.
For girls age 10+.
- Elizabeth Hawksley
I liked this book because there was excitement around every corner. It also puts you onto false leads, making you want to read on and find out everything.
I thought the imagery was effective and the characters believable. I also really liked the happy ending and I am going to enjoy reading the next book and see what adventures are in store.
My favourite part of the book is when Ellie and Masou save the day because they are, in my opinion, the two most likeable characters in the whole book.
I think this book is aimed at girls around the age of 11-13.
- Rachel Beggs (aged 12)