Knives in the South

Written by P. F. Chisholm
Review by Mike Ashworth

1592. Knives in the South is the second chronicle of the adventures of Sir Robert Carey, swashbuckling dandy and cousin to Queen Elizabeth. It brings together three novels in one volume. Carey is recalled to London by his father from his post as Deputy Warden of the West March in Carlisle. With the aid of his redoubtable henchman, Dodd, the lace-collared, pearl-sashed courtier, finds himself trying to find a missing brother, identify a badly decomposed body which has been washed up on the Queen’s privy steps, and investigate a murder from thirty years before—a murder which has links to the throne.

The three books cover a period of three consecutive weeks, and the plots flow seamlessly together to make one complete enjoyable Elizabethan romp. The characters are strong, and the plot moves along swiftly, while the culture and times of the Elizabethan court are effectively portrayed in a subtle, understated way. There is a seam of humour which flows through all three stories, acting as a counterpoint to the murderous politics of the Elizabethan court. Well written, this is a pleasure to read. Pour your favourite tipple, settle down and enjoy. Recommended.