Fiona Buckley is back on track with "A Rescue for a Queen," her 11th installment in her Ursula Blanchard mystery series. After a so-so effort with her last Blanchard book, "Queen's Bounty," Ms. Buckley has returned to the action, suspense and intrigue that has made this series an overall enjoyable read.
Set in 1571, "A Rescue for a Queen" has newly widowed Ursula being asked to escort her ward to the Netherlands in order to meet a suitor. At the same time, she is also asked to investigate whether the Florentine banker Roberto Ridolfi (who, in one of those convenient coincidences that mystery writers seem to love, just happens to be related to the groom and is hosting the wedding) is again involved in a plot to put Mary Queen of Scots on the English throne.
This quest leads Ursula and her loyal servants to travel not only to the Netherlands but also to Rome and Spain. Along the way, she falls into the hands of an old enemy (the same one from the last book), is menaced by the Spanish Inquisition, and encounters someone from her past that loyal readers just knew was going to show up again. This last meeting results in an interesting twist that could throw an unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome, circumstance into Ursula's life - and future books in the series.
As in all Ursula Blanchard books, Ms. Buckley employs sometimes unlikely coincidences, changes in point of view, questions that are not explained or answered until later in the book, and sudden references to the future which may momentarily jar new readers, but which experienced readers will recognize as techniques designed to create interest and suspense. If they work for you, then you'll enjoy this book and return for more.