Cruel as the grave A medieval mystery

Sharon Kay Penman

Book - 1998

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MYSTERY/Penman, Sharon Kay
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New York : Henry Holt 1998.
1st ed
Item Description
"A Marian Wood book."
Physical Description
242 p.
Main Author
Sharon Kay Penman (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Penman had already made a name for herself with five critically acclaimed historical novels when she ventured into mystery writing with The Queen's Man (1996) and was quickly nominated for an Edgar for best first mystery. Her second mystery builds on that success and is every bit as intriguing, cleverly plotted, and skillfully written. The setting is twelfth-century London, where Eleanor of Aquitaine is queen. Eleanor's son Richard is the prisoner of England's enemies, and her son John is involved in a plot to take over the throne. Justin de Quincy, who was introduced in The Queen's Man, has gained the queen's favor with his brave and noble deeds. As her confidant, he has been given the daunting task of infiltrating Windsor Castle and convincing rebellious Prince John to surrender. Meanwhile, Justin has promised an old friend that he will investigate the brutal murder of a lowly peddler's daughter, and the case is proving to be both troublesome to resolve and tragic in its implications. Penman's clear prose and engrossing plot, the skill with which she brings the politics, people, and ambience of medieval England alive, and her engaging characters make this a must-read, must-have mystery. ((Reviewed October 15, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In another of her popular medieval mysteries, Penman brings back Justin de Quincy, "the Queen's Man," who investigates the murder of a peddler's daughter in 12th-century England. Copyright 1998 Library Journal Reviews

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

YA-Justin de Quincy, a medieval private investigator introduced in The Queen's Man (Holt, 1996), now has two mysteries to solve, one involving the common folk and the other surrounding John, who plots to gain the English throne by forging an alliance with the French king. His brother, Richard Lionheart, is being held hostage in Austria. Their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, is Richard's regent, and is desperately trying to raise a ransom for him; to do so, she needs peace in the kingdom. John's intentions are uncertain, for he has barricaded himself in Windsor Castle, and a siege is being prepared. Justin is sent to negotiate with him, and does so successfully. Much of the story, however, concerns the mystery surrounding the murder of the daughter of a destitute peddler. Aided by the under-sheriff of a nearby county, Justin solves the crime, uncovering a venal and unexpected culprit. YAs will find this tale of intrigue in the Queen's court and the streets of London both entertaining and enlightening. They may be led back to The Queen's Man for more detail of Justin's early life, and another intriguing mystery story.-Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 1999 School Library Journal Reviews

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In twelfth-century London, Justin de Quincy, the Queen's Man, searches for the individual responsible for the murder of a young girl

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Steeped in political machinations, London in 1193 provides the setting for a new investigation by Justin de Quincy, the Queen's Man, who searches for the individual responsible for the brutal murder of a young girl in a churchyard. 50,000 first printing. Tour.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Melangell had only just marked her fifteenth birthday. In the street where she, her father, and her little sister boarded, she had been loved by all, as much for her kind heart and generous nature as for her curly black hair and slender good looks. But someone had taken advantage of that sweetness, leaving her dead in St. Mary Magdalene's churchyard, her ripped bodice testimony to her struggle, a bloodstained stone cross the solitary witness to her death.Justin de Quincy was the queen's man, working on behalf of Eleanor of Aquitaine. His duty was clear: to find her missing son, Richard Lionheart, and prevent Prince John from usurping Richard's throne. What had he to do with a commonplace murder, with the death of a poor man's child? But little by little, Justin comes to feel the force of the dead girl, perhaps even to love her as well, and he soon commits to finding her killer. But can he also bring him to justice?