Thursday, 6 March 2008

Candace Robb – “A Vigil of Spies”


In Bishopthorpe Palace, September 1373 - Archbishop Thoresby lies dying and Owen Archer, his captain of the guard, is determined to ensure his master's last days are peaceful. But much to his dismay Thoresby has agreed to a visit from Princess Joan - she has come to seek the great man's advice about the royal succession before it's too late. Owen grudgingly admits the fair lady's visit might be just the distraction Thoresby needs but within minutes of the royal party's arrival it is clear that the servant who met with an accident and died on the journey has in fact been murdered.. and so it progresses...

The other books in the Owen Archer series are:-
1. The Apothecary Rose (1993)
2. The Lady Chapel (1994)
3. The Nun's Tale (1995)
4. The King's Bishop (1996)
5. The Riddle of St. Leonard's (1997)
6. A Gift of Sanctuary (1998)
7. A Spy for the Redeemer (2002)
8. The Cross-Legged Knight (2002)
9. The Guilt of Innocents (2007)
10. A Vigil of Spies (2008)

I think I have read all except the Cross-legged Knight and A Spy for the Redeemer. Candace Robb’s novels are a cut above many of those of most of the other historical novelists. This one in particular is a clever little work with a hint (intentional and acknowledged) of the Agatha Christie- with whom she shares her birthday - about the way the potential villains are brought together to the one place for the solution to be demonstrated, Poirot-like, at the dying man’s bedside.

CANDACE ROBB (b 15th September 1950) has read and researched medieval history for many years, having studied for a Ph.D. in Medieval and Anglo-Saxon Literature. She divides her time between Seattle and the UK, frequently spending time in Scotland and York to research her books.

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