The Widow’s Guild (A Francis Bacon Mystery)

Written by Anna Castle
Review by Steve Donoghue

Anna Castle continues her series of the adventures of Francis Bacon with this story of Elizabethan England poised on the brink of invasion, nervously awaiting some word of King Philip’s Armada.

Against this backdrop Castle introduces us to the delightful figure of Lady Alice Trumpington, who agrees to a distasteful marriage with an elderly nobleman and quickly drugs his evening drink so she can spend the night with her lover – only to find, in the morning, that somebody murdered her husband in his sleep, and she’s the prime suspect. A “guild” of wealthy and influential widows – led by none other than Bacon’s own aunt – drag Bacon into investigating the crime in order to clear Lady Alice, and he soon discovers a much larger threat.

As in Castle’s earlier book, Murder by Misrule, she brings the Elizabethan world wonderfully to life, and if Francis Bacon himself seems a bit overshadowed at times in this novel, it’s because the great, fun creation of the Widow’s Guild itself easily steals the spotlight.

Strongly Recommended.