A Rescue for a Queen

Written by Fiona Buckley
Review by Judith Starkston

Eleventh in Fiona Buckley’s series featuring Elizabeth I and her spy Ursula Blanchard Stannard, A Rescue for a Queen opens at the funeral of Ursula’s husband Hugh Stannard in England, but soon shifts across the channel into the Netherlands where Ursula’s greatest foe, the Countess of Northumberland, now resides. Cecil, Elizabeth’s Secretary of State, persuades Ursula to go to such a dangerous location by concealing her mission from her. She thinks she’s escorting her foster daughter to her wedding, but the engagement has been brought about intentionally to entice Ursula back into action for the Queen. Mary Stuart is once again suspected of plotting her way to the English throne, and Elizabeth needs Ursula to uncover the truth. Witnessing the death of other spies sent on this mission and chased by several enemies including the Inquisition, Ursula loses her stomach for clandestine work and leans even more on her trusty manservant, Brockley, much to Brockley’s wife’s distress.

The book traverses Europe from Bruges to Rome to Madrid. A surprise visit by a past character in the series will please readers of these mysteries. In the end, with some help from her friends, Ursula once again keeps her nerve enough to protect her beloved England from foreign invasions—although I won’t reveal who the actual plotters turn out to be. Longtime readers of Fiona Buckley will enjoy this addition to Ursula’s adventures.