A Murdered Peace: A Kate Clifford Novel
In Robb’s third Kate Clifford mystery, dark times abound. It’s midwinter, 1400, and Henry IV has ascended to the throne after deposing his cousin, Richard II. Paranoia and posturing reign, as those loyal to Richard scramble to rescue him or to form new alliances, and there is much distrust among the new king’s forces. At her home in York, Kate has problems of her own: her cook, Berend, has disappeared, and a friend, Lady Margery Kirkby, has sought protection after her husband was murdered by a mob in Cirencester. Adding in Kate’s mother, Eleanor, and her household of lay sisters, and her suitor, Sir Elric, as well as several more murders, makes for plenty of plot action. Along the way, Kate has to learn to trust, whether that’s in forming a relationship with Sir Elric or exchanging information with Bess Merchet, owner of the local tavern.
Robb deftly weaves in historical background and details, ranging from political context to facets of daily life. Fans of medieval history will enjoy the details of running a household and cooking, the history behind women’s jewelry, and the intrigues between different factions in York and beyond. Mystery fans will appreciate how Robb manages the many characters and plot twists, tying up seemingly loose ends into a creative and rational outcome. Kate Clifford is an intriguing character in Robb’s oeuvre, privileged enough to mix with the upper classes, yet streetwise and welcoming to the poor. Through her, readers are afforded a well-rounded view of 15th-century life, as well as a page-turner of a tale.