Wednesday, 26 July 2017

False Rumours by Danae Penn

Review by JJ Marsh

What we thought:

For lovers of history, this book will steep you in the society, politics, culture and environment of the fifteenth century of France and Britain. 

Belina Lansac works in the cathedral at Condom, a well-known stop for the pilgrims on the route to Santiago in Northern Spain. When her detective husband is summoned away, he leaves her with a task. Find out who poisoned the pilgrim. 

Belina is left to her own wits as she attempts to piece together any information about this atypical 'pilgrim' with precious coins sown into his cloak and suspiciously smooth skin. Her attempts are aided by a foreigner, Philippe Barvaux, a charming and well connected Fleming, whose interest in Belina and her activities are intense.

As her investigations progress, she begins to appreciate how complex the web of connections and political intrigue are and how the trail of influence goes all the way to the top. Powerful men and women are scheming to gain the throne of England and if that means murdering two young princes, so be it. Belina holds their fate in her hands.

A rich, dense story of cunning machinations, set in a fully realised historical setting, brought to vivid life through the eyes of Belina. Every element from weather to architecture feels authentic and vivid, as if you are stepping back in time. Hence the tension of the plot becomes as real as any detective story. One to absorb slowly and enjoy the attention to detail, before emerging stunned and blinking back into reality.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: The Auberge des Anges series by Liza Perrat, David Penny's Thomas Berrington historical mysteries or the intrigue and plot of Ann Swinfen.

Avoid if you don’t like: History and period detail, gradual plot development.

Ideal accompaniments: Honeycakes, a carafe of Bordeaux and a few Franco-Flemish Renaissance tunes

Genre: Historical fiction, historical crime

Available on Amazon

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