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3.9 out of 5 stars21
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 11 May 2014
I love all of Patricia Finney's novels about Sir Robert Carey and his vicissitudes, so fell on this short story with a cry of glee. The Careys are now part of the court of King James I and VI and Queen Anne, and would appear to have achieved a (probably temporary) settlement of their - or, rather, his - debts, thanks to selling a castle! However, rumours from further north took Sir Robert off to visit the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, and Governor to the 4 year old Prince Charles, Duke of York. All is far from well with the child, who does not speak, cannot walk, has problems eating, and is thought likely to die. Needless to say, the Careys, with their love of children, and ability to set aside the possible threat to any security they have just found, have soon taken over the care of the sickly child, and one of Elizabeth's first triumphs is to get Charles out of the perpetual attendance of the 4 doctors who contradict each other, insist on extreme treatments, and, no doubt, are all too happy with the fees they receive. Then suddenly a puppy gets into the little boy's chamber, chews on everything in sight, and later dies...

The story is never slow, and I am full of admiration for the author's ability to draw the reader into the times, setting, and customs of the 17th Century without any detailed descriptions, but rather by making everything matter-of-fact, so that having to dress Philly to meet the Queen, the clothing is simply listed as items Elizabeth swiftly tosses over her daughter's head in the panic to be ready for the summons. Likewise, the Royal Progress and its discomforts are experienced, right down to the massive numbers accompanying the Household, and the very cramped conditions under which they all live in the various houses visited. I loved the idea that, amongst the Duke of York's personal Household, he had two cradle-rockers (females, not wooden fitments!).

The story is a simple one on the surface, but the identification of the would-be murderer is very cleverly plotted, and the denouement is most satisfactory. What really sends a shiver down the spine are the final few paragraphs, where nothing is stated, but the enormity of the conclusion is devastating. Read it and see - it's worth every penny - and there are only a couple of typos which have been missed.
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on 8 June 2014
With 'An Air of Treason' not yet available on kindle when I found this, I was delighted to be able to get a P F Chisholm fix to keep me going. Call me an old romantic but half the fun is that it is set after Sir Robert Carey married Elizabeth Widdrington. P F Chisholm's take on the past is much more interesting than the history books.
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on 3 June 2014
I have enjoyed Patricia Finney's books so I was very pleased to see there was another one on the market. I did notice, however that it wasn't a book but a short story. Twenty-nine pages, to be exact.
The Courtier (Sir Robert Carey) is now a married man with charming, healthy children. King James also has two children, the younger being the four-year-old Charles, Duke of York, who is far from being well. He is cared for by not one, but four doctors, and they seem to be caring him to death. Sir Robert, Elizabeth, Lady Carey and their delightful daughter investigate.
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on 6 June 2014
A great romp amd interesting new twist on a famous moment in history. Finney's lively prose and vividly drawn characters engage the reader from the first page. Fansfof Robert Carey will love this sneaky look into his future too!
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on 8 June 2014
Loved this short story that brought the sad early life of King Charles 1 to life and the part that Elizabeth Carey played in his upbringing. It aroused my interest in this sad king and made me read more about his life.
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on 15 May 2015
Was delighted when I saw there was another book in this series. A great read but only 4 stars for the disappointment of it being very, very short.
This series of book are great and have enjoyed them all.
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on 5 August 2014
What a load of rubbish, the booked started then finished within a few pages and did not give any story line or info. Will never buy one of her books again. Very disappointed.
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on 14 October 2014
Patricia creates a sublime picture of the past and weaves her story telling spell combined with the magic that is Robin Carey...
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on 24 July 2014
I love Patricia Finneys work .Robert Carey is an excellent character. Her books are always full of detail. More please
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on 22 April 2015
An excellent novella, well paced and up to standard. If only it could be longer because I do enjoy her style.
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