Murder in The Merchant’s Hall: An Elizabethan Spy Thriller
Author: Kathy Lynn Emerson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Severn House
Release Date: 2015
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: The intriguing new mystery featuring Tudor sleuth, Mistress Rosamond Jaffrey.
When Lina Walkenden is found clutching a bloody knife over the dead body of her brother-in-law and guardian, there’s only one person she can turn to for help: her childhood friend Rosamond Jaffrey. Rosamond vows to do all she can to prove Lina’s innocence, but when it transpires Lina was being forced into a marriage against her will and was instead besotted by her fiance’s charming yet unscrupulous nephew, her motives for murder seem overwhelming.
In desperation, Rosamond seeks out the help of the Queen’s spymaster himself, Sir Francis Walsingham – but when she overhears a conversation at the French Embassy, it seems Lina’s plight is irrelevant in the face of potential treason. Rosamond must do all she can to save her friend – and keep herself and her family safe from a desperate killer.
My Review: Lina seems to be guilty of murder when she is standing over her dead brother-in-law’s body clutching a bloody knife in her hand. Knowing that the punishment of the crime is to be burned at the stake, Lina has no one to turn to but her childhood friend, Rosamond Jaffrey. Rosamond vows to find out who the real killer is, yet as she investigates, the more guilty Lina seems to be. Can Rosamond determine if Lina is the true culprit of the crime?
Rosamond is a young married woman who was once a spy for Elizabeth. She is smart and resilient, and very strong-willed. She likes to do as she pleases. However, she is stubborn and does not give up and is very persistent, especially when Lina’s fate seems bleak. She also keeps secrets from her husband. I also like her relationship with her husband, Rob. While both of them have secrets, they help each other out. Rosamond depends on Rob for help, and Rob is always there for her. Therefore, their relationship is very sweet.
Overall, this story is about friendship, love, family, and trust. I did find the pacing of the novel to be very slow at times, and I thought that the mystery was predictable. However, I liked the characters, for they were fun, and I thought the novel was very well-written. I liked how the author described the setting of Elizabethan London. Like with most mystery series, this book can be read as a stand alone. I did not read the first book in the series, but I was not lost. The author gave me a lot of background into the characters. I recommend this book to anyone interested in historical mysteries set in the Tudor era.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars