The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins
Historical Fiction
Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press

Right from the first pages, the author’s rich touches of setting and locale immediately had me engrossed in the story. I was drawn to the characters and their complex relationships, particularly between Sarah and her father. I also enjoyed the contrast between Sarah’s house and the Quaker home. There are things to learn as well: the inner life of a tiny Quaker community, the workings of a printer’s apprentice, and the bookseller titles, such as criminal confessions and dying speeches, that are in hot demand.

Before long, a shocking revelation sends Lucy on a dangerous mission. Once you read of the imposter, slow down and keep your suspicions on alert as you travel from one damp, grey street to the next. The theme of “betrayal from within” is heightened by the increased pace of the story. You will be carried away in time while clues and surprises accumulate. As Lucy continues investigating, the author sneaks in character growth, familiar mannerisms, and an absorbing romantic triangle. The intricate details are smoothly delivered and, as tension and anticipation build, connections are revealed, and pieces come together.

As Aubrey stated, “Everyone likes a good murder.” You will love this beautifully written story with memorable characters and a haunting atmosphere. This well-crafted mystery is a very enjoyable, well-researched taste of 1600s London, and just completely delightful.

For even more fun, Susanna Calkins has a great blog with information on 17th century England.  I just love this author and her books. Check out http://www.susannacalkins.com/blog.

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