Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Lady Grace Mysteries: Intrigue

The Lady Grace Mysteries: Intrigue

Jan Burchett, Sara Vogler
Historical Fiction  Series
For ages 10 and up
Random House, 2006   ISBN: 978-0385608534

Everyone in the court of Queen Elizabeth is feeling excited. The queen has decided to go to the theatre rather than waiting for it to come to her, which is what she usually does. The courtiers, including Lady Grave Cavendish and the other Maids of Honour, are going to go with her. The Queen's advisor, Secretary Cecil tries to discourage the queen but she will not be moved and the court sets off for the Key Inn in Southwark.

The play, which is called Intrigue, starts off well enough. The audience know that a murder will be committed in the story. The interesting thing about this play is that they, the audience, has to try to figure out who is the murderer. The person who solves the mystery will be given a gift. As the audience sits and watches, one of the actors is shot with an arrow. It is only when someone runs onto the stage in great distress, that everyone realizes that something is very wrong. Apparently the arrow that was used for the murder scene was not the fake one which was used in rehearsals, but a real one. The actor, one Richard Fitzgrey, is very dead.

The authorities are sure that the murderer has to be the man who was supposed to shoot the arrow in the play, Cyril Groome. The fact that he cannot be found only makes his guilt seem more definite. But Grace and her friend Masou are not convinced that Cyril Groome is to blame. They discover that Richard Fitzgery was not shot from off stage but from a tower, from above.

Even though she is not given the queen's permission to do so, Grace decides to investigate the matter. The more she looks into the lives of the actors, the more complicated the picture gets. If Cyril Groome did not kill Richard Fitzgery then who did?

In this engaging work of historical fiction we once again go on a fascinating adventure with Lady Cavendish, Queen Elizabeth's secret spy and problem solver. We learn about what theatre life was like in Queen Elizabeth's time, and also learn what it was like to be incarcerated in one of London's awful prisons. Needless to say, it was quite frightful. Even if you were freed by the law, you still had to pay the keeper to let you out of the prison building. If you did not have any money on you or had no friends to help you, you had to stay in prison.