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Face down in the Marrowbone (Elizabethan Mysteries) [Hardcover]

Kathy Lynn Emerson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1997 Elizabethan Mysteries
Large print edition of Book 1 in Emerson's "breezy and amusing historical whodunit" (Booklist); CIP data; NAVH Seal of Approval
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 218 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press (31 Dec 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312151233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312151232
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.6 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,215,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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.

......Harriet Klausner
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3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars - the delightful Lady Susanna 4 Jun 2009
By L. J. Roberts TOP 500 REVIEWER
First Sentence: Steam rose from the marrow-bone pie until the old man's sharp beak of a nose wrinkled in delight.

Sir Robert Appleton is off to France on a mission for Queen Elizabeth. A letter he receives, shortly before his trip, tells of the death of John Bexwith, steward of Appleton Manor in Lancashire. As Bexwith was not old and was found dead face down in a marrow-bone pie, Lady Susanna Appleton, who is writing an herbal and knowledgeable of poisons, suspects his death to be unnatural. In spite of tales that a ghost haunts Appleton Manor, Susanna decides to unmask the ghost, find the killer and put the manor to rights.

I'd not read Emerson before. Two things, in particular, stand out with her writing; her characters and her research.

Lady Susanna is delightful. She is smart--highly educated for the time, practical--not given to superstition or fancy, and independent. She is certainly the most developed of the characters, yet the personalities of the other characters come through as well.

Ms. Emerson's research is apparent. The period is a fascinating one in which there, as Sir Robert puts it "...too many queens..." The offset of Susanna's activities by Robert's in France, provides a view of their relationship and of the time. The information on plants and herbs was fascinating but I also didn't realize that hair jewelry, memorializing the dead, dates back as far as the 16 century.

The story is well plotted with a good balance of suspense. There was, however, a fairly obvious hint as to the killer. What was lacking was a strong sense of time and place.

At times, I felt the story read as much more modern than the setting. This was mainly due to the language being quite modern.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining historical mystery 16 Oct 2002
By audrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Set in Elizabethan England, author Kathy Emerson has chosen an interesting historical period for her mystery series and an intriguing heroine in Susanna, Lady Appleton -- a proto-feminist educated by her father and grudgingly admired by her more conventional husband. Emerson introduces a great deal of information about the times, the people and the herbs without making it painful, and the book is readable for that alone. The heroine and other characters are believable and three-dimensional and the murder and its solution are reasonably well-done -- better than many historical mysteries. I look forward to reading others in the series.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining historical 17 Mar 2000
By Christina P. Branson - Published on Amazon.com
I'm no expert on Elizabethan England, but this book seemed well researched, almost to a fault. It did tend towards exposition in spots, but I can forgive that for the sake of learning some history. The juxtaposition of headstrong, educated Lady Appleton in this vivid setting made for a highly entertaining read.
Some of the foreshadowing was a bit blatant, and I thought the villain was pretty obvious. (Hint: In Chapter 4, pay attention to what is so carefully *not* revealed about the murderer.) But I had a great time following along, and the ending had some unexpected little twists. I look forward to more of Susanna's adventures.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun 23 July 2001
By Martha E. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is an immensely readable, enjoyable book. The characters are great, the story kept my interest, and the historical background is accurate and is inserted into the story in engaging ways. I have been reading a lot of historical mysteries this summer, and this is an excellent one! Good summer reading!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Won't disappoint you 13 Jan 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Fun romp through another time period. Lady Appleton, married to a womanizing prigg, spends her time solving murder cases. She's an only child, which was the cause for her unusal education (for a girl that is). i. e. She was the son her father never had. She not overly attractive either, which is a break from the norm. Luckly, she's got brains out the wazo and her husband is often away from home (being a spy and all) so it's up to Lady Appleton to save the day.
I know this all sounds common place, but the author pulls it off with outstanding wit and dry humor. She also does a wonderful job of bring the Elizabethian time period true to life. You won't be disappointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly enjoyable read. 19 Oct 2000
By Monica K. Van Ness - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wasn't really sure that I would like this book, but the premise of the story interested me - so I thought that I'd give it a try. The story was much more entertaining than I originally thought it would be. I liked the character of Susanna. She was strong and, perhaps, more willful that can be healthy, but she could also be kind to those who others would see only as servants. I haven't yet read any of the other books in the series, but one thing I'd like to see happen is that Susanna and Robert would grow closer as husband and wife. Having Robert traipsing around with a "woman in every port" sort of life, could become annoying very fast.
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