This is the second in Morgan's hilarious "Countess" series, et in 18th century London and featuring some of the most memorable characters to ever grace the pages of a mystery novel.
To be perfectly frank, this one is not as good as the first and the resolution comes (as it does in so many mysteries!) at the end in a long windup sequence.
But in one way, who cares? I really didn't read this to find out "who dunnit" but to follow on the escapades of the Countess Ashby de la Zouche and her intrepid "Watson", Alpiew. The bits about Samuel Pepys in there added to the fun. An altogether enjoyable read.
What a hoot! Murder, alchemy, transvestism and Restoration England all in one. The Countess and her unlikely maid-companion Alpiew enter the world of the theater to solve a murder that has them adventuring through London with the bailiff always on their heels. Moreover an excellent mystery! For all the running about they do, you'd think the Countess would be more svelt! Is it just one too many dish of hot chocolate - or perhaps too much gingerbread? Join the fun and read on.
This was a great book, as all in the series. It's actually quite funny too. Great mystery and mayhem from some colorful characters.
I have to admit that I don't read this series for the mystery, I read them for the wonderful view of 18th century London -- and for the characters -- especially Countess Ashby de la Zouche and her maidservant, Alpiew. If you like historical fiction/mystery and you love characters bigger than life -- this is the book for you. Try it -- you might like it.
On the back cover-"A 1699 version of bawdy London is splendidly brought to life in Fidelis Morgan's The Rival Queens... Restoration comedy and action,artifice,gunpowder and Samuel Pepys:a perfect historical menu of crime and mystery,with the bonus of laughs aplenty."