One of the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth's courtiers, Sir Robert Appleton, is renowned for spiriting those Protestants loyal to Elizabeth out of the country when Mary ruled. He is pressed into political missions overseas as a reward for his loyalty. This pleases him because he believes that if he serves his sovereign with honor, she will eventually reward him with a peerage. Robert's spouse, herbalist Susanna, is elated with the arrangement because she is free to do what she wants when he is out of the country.
..... Before Robert departs on his mission to France, he receives word that his steward at Appleton Manor was found dead, laying face down in the bone marrow pie. A second missive arrives after he leaves the country. This time Susanna rushes up to Appleton to learn that the place has been abandoned since a ghost has appeared on the premise and frightened everyone away. When Susanna arrives at the manor, she realizes that the murder of the steward and the arrival of the ghost are an attempt to lure Sir Robert onto the premises for reasons most deadly. Sir Robert is tricked into meeting his wife at the manor. Susanna knows that she must work quickly to uncover the identity of the mastermind of the grand scheme before her spouse becomes the next victim.
..... The mystery world has gained a fantastic new historical cozy writer in Kathy Lynn Emerson as she makes the early stages of the reign of Elizabeth I come gloriously to life. The historical detail is so vivid and colorful that FACE DOWN IN THE BONE MARROW PIE could be easily turned into a mesmerizing movie. The female protagonist is a person ahead of her times. She uses her natural intelligence in a shrewd way that remains consistent with the era; yet this skill allows her to do things normally done by males only. There is a special magic to this Elizabethan cozy that makes it a must read that hopefully will be followed by more books starring Susanna.