Dark Queen Waiting (A Margaret Beaufort Mystery)

Written by Paul Doherty
Review by Pamela Schoenewaldt

In 1471, England is in the hands of the House of York. King Edward IV employs a vast network of spies, assassins, and informants to crush the House of Lancaster. Opposing him is the pious, cunning, and ruthless Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, who has her own network working relentlessly to protect her exiled son, Henry Tudor, and install him on the throne of England. Her most trusted accomplice is the brilliant Christopher Urswicke, whose equally brilliant nemesis is his own father, who serves as enforcer to the House of York.

“Dark” is the unrelenting tone of this mystery. Action unfolds in the dim, putrid alleys of London, dimly-lit back rooms of taverns, dungeons, and churchyard shadows. Dung collectors may be informants. Men are murdered in chambers seemingly locked from within, and the murders themselves are executed by a variety of horrific means.

This is the second of Paul Doherty’s Margaret Beaufort mysteries, drawing on Doherty’s formidable mastery of the English medieval and Renaissance world. Sensory specifics put the reader deep into the underbelly of the monarchy, in which priests may be spies and fathers, sons, and brothers may be mortal enemies. A character list helps readers identify major players in the large cast.