Murder at Westminster Abbey (Elizabethan Mysteries)

Written by Amanda Carmack

Red-headed women are being murdered – two in brothels and one at the court of Elizabeth I. The possibility that this could be a threat to the newly crowned red-headed queen has Elizabeth and her protectors worried. The queen is concerned enough to enlist the services of Kate Haywood, a 19-year-old court musician who solved a murder in the first mystery in this series (Murder at Hatfield House). Kate adores her queen, crediting Elizabeth with “supernatural powers of observation.” They decide to solve the murders together with Kate doing the legwork, including a visit to a Southwark brothel. Robert Dudley assists her investigation at one point. Other characters include the sisters of the executed nine-day queen, Jane Grey.

In a note before the book, the author identifies Kate as her BFF. The author’s affection for her main character helps give the story a positive tone in spite of a gloomy atmosphere of madames and murders. The mystery is difficult to unravel, and most readers will be surprised at the end, but in looking back, the clues are reasonably fair.