The Lady Grace Mysteries: Intrigue

Written by Grace Cavendish
Review by Elizabeth Hawksley Rachel Beggs (age 13)

London, 1570. Lady Grace Cavendish, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s maids of honour, embarks on her 9th adventure. The queen and her court go to the Key Inn to see a performance of Intrigue, the play everyone is talking about. It has a very convincing death scene and anyone in the audience who can guess which of the three suspects is the murderer, will win a prize. So far, no-one has succeeded.

But this performance goes horribly wrong and the handsome and popular actor, Richard Fitzgrey, really is killed by the arrow. The hunt is on for the actor who shot him… but Grace is convinced that the accused man could not have killed Richard as the arrow was shot from the wrong angle. She is determined to track down the real murderer and she thinks she knows who he is: Bartholomew Rouse. Her deductions convince the queen and Bartholomew is arrested.

Then Grace discovers that there was a darker side to the heartthrob Richard and there are more questions which need to be answered urgently. She may have caused an innocent man to be thrown into the notorious Clink prison and it is up to her to discover the truth before it is too late. And time is running out…

This lively story would make a good introduction to Elizabethan London, a smelly, dangerous place where cutpurses abounded. It also illuminates the theatre world. This was an age when acting troupes had to be adaptable enough to stage their plays anywhere, even in the courtyard of an inn, and versatile enough to invent ingenious stage effects such as shaking a metal sheet to simulate thunder.

I enjoyed this. Aimed at girls of 11 plus.


I thought this book was a good read and I really enjoyed it. The plot line was very original. I liked the structure of the book because it was different. Most mystery books set the scene and then have the crime later on, whereas the author here puts the mystery right at the beginning. This is good because it means that later in the book there are lots of clues to try and piece together. There are also quite a few red herrings but they are all interesting and each, in the end, leads to another clue.

The descriptions of the setting and scenery are clear. Despite there being descriptions of the characters in previous books, there are none in this book. It would have been nice to have had some details about them.

This book is aimed at girls aged 11-14.