The Twylight Tower

Written by Karen Harper
Review by Teresa Eckford

The Twylight Tower is Karen Harper’s third Elizabeth I Mystery, in which she sets out to solve one of the greatest historical mysteries — the death of Amy Robsart. She reunites the mystery-solving cast of characters from the earlier novels, including Elizabeth, Dudley, Lord Cecil, Kat Ashley, Dr. John Dee, Henry Carey, and several of the Queen’s servants.

Amy Robsart is not the first character to die a mysterious death. That honour falls to the Queen’s chief lutenist, Geoffrey Hammet, literally, when he dies in a fall from the ramparts at Richmond Palace, setting in motion a mysterious chain of events.

This book works much better as a piece of historical fiction than as a mystery. The details are plentiful, the characters true-to-the-period and the political history just right. Yet the pacing is uneven, especially at the beginning. However, once Amy Robsart tumbles down the stairs, the book takes off.

Though Elizabeth’s giggling jarred with my interpretation of her character, her yearning to be a normal woman, free to love, rang very true. Not a perfect read, but the author’s solution to the Robsart mystery makes this book worth picking it up for devotees of the Elizabethan period.