Death in St James's Park: 8 (Adventures of Thomas Chaloner) Paperback – 17 Oct 2013
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Intricately plotted and full of evocative period atmosphere (Good Book Guide)
Intrigue, detection, and action are blended perfectly with plot elements drawn from historical details that make the era come to life (Publishers Weekly)
Superspy of Restoration London, Thomas Chaloner foils an uprising in his eighth outingSee all Product description
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It’s now January 1665, and in the cold new year tensions between England and the Netherlands have not eased; and there are new tensions in London itself, as Chaloner is quick to notice. He’s even more unhappy than usual with his role as the Earl of Clarendon’s ‘Gentleman Usher’ as he waits in the freezing cold morning to arrest two men at the Post Office in London. What with that, and having to find out who is poisoning the King’s birds in St James’s Park, Chaloner feels convinced there must be a better way to earn a living. But soon enough murder rears its ugly head, and Chaloner must call on all his skills to save not only himself and the Earl, but many other innocent people.
This is a great series, and I’m really enjoying catching up with the exploits of Thomas Chaloner, a sympathetically-written character. As the stories go on, we find out more about not only the recurring characters such as Chaloner, his friend Thurloe and Hannah, but more about the world in which they live. Historical characters are woven into the fictional narrative with great skill by the author, and the story races along at a great pace. Engaging, interesting and really excellent reads, this is a definitely recommended series.
The story is multi-threaded with multiple plots designed to confuse Chaloner who is commanded by Clarendon to go investigate the poisoning of several fowl in St James Park. This is ostensibly so Clarendon's new "Marshall" - Gery - can command the investigation of the Post Office. Two plots abound there - "The Devilles Work" and blatant corruption of the accounts. What with Clarendon threatening to send Chaloner off to Russia pronto and a very nasty poison making the rounds coupled with exploding carts full of logs, our sleuth is having a difficult time. As usual the culprits and suspects are scattered from low society to high and this novel is concerned with the settling of old scores and the murky work of double and even triple agents.
What makes this one slightly different is that Gregory decides to send Chaloner's troublesome Hannah and servants off to Buckinghamshire to get them out of the way of her pen and we conclude with a postscript telling us that Tom is in serious trouble when he heads off to the Tsar with a changed set of missives and glass replacements for the jewels. It leaves us anticipating what is going to happen and wonder if Gregory is going to have Tom's next adventure outside London.
As ever, Gregory is a guilty pleasure; an author that demands a reader curl up in a wing-back chair next to a fire, have glass of wine in easy reach and then asks you to lose yourself in Tom's or Matthew's adventures for several hours. It's a "five stars and beyond" read. Every single time.
Will I read another. Probably. But if someone were to bump off Mrs C, and if Chaloner could be as pro-active in organising his life as he is in investigating dangerous plots, I would be a bit happier.
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