A murder at Rosamund's Gate

Susanna Calkins

Book - 2013

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Mystery fiction
Historical fiction
New York : Minotaur Books 2013.
First edition
Physical Description
ix, 340 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Susanna Calkins (-)
Review by Booklist Review

A serving girl in a London magistrate's home during the Restoration is in a perfect position to guide readers through this ­luxury-loving and plague-ridden world. Such a servant could move from withdrawing room to servants' quarters to the Covent Garden market, witnessing and overhearing a great deal. Calkins takes full advantage of this access in her debut novel, which focuses on the period just before (and including) the Great Fire of London. Heroine Lucy Campion is resourceful and quick-witted. The household she works in, top to bottom, is filled with the news that the bodies of two serving girls have been discovered in fields outside London. Then, Lucy's chambermaid roommate, Bessie, is found murdered in the same vicious way as the other girls. Lucy's brother, often seen with Bessie, is the main suspect. Calkins makes Lucy's efforts to find the real killer entirely plausible, leading to a nail-biter climax with London in flames. This history-mystery delivers a strong heroine making her way through the social labyrinth of Restoration London.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in 1665, Calkins's debut brings London on the eve of the Great Plague to vivid life. Lucy Campion, a chambermaid, is fortunate to be employed by a benevolent magistrate named Hargrave, who's eager to help her better herself. The discovery in a nearby field of a near-naked woman who has been stabbed to death piques Lucy's interest. Hargrave links this crime to another murder. Following the killing of a fellow female servant, Lucy turns detective. She only intensifies her sleuthing efforts after her brother, William, who knew one of the dead women, is charged with the servant's murder. When members of her household begin showing signs of having been infected with the Black Death, Lucy must deal with other life-and-death matters. The solution isn't quite at the same level as the other aspects of the plot, but the high-quality writing augurs well for future outings. Agent: David Hale Smith, DHS Literary. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

A Restoration-era chambermaid has ideas far above her station. 1665. Lucy Campion is fortunate to have a place in the home of Master Hargrave, a magistrate who pays well and treats his servants with exceptional consideration. The household also includes Hargrave's flighty wife and their lawyer son Adam, their daughter Sarah, and their foster son Lucas, who is destined for the church. Lucy's mundane routine is changed forever when her best friend below stairs, the lovely, flirtatious lady's maid, Bessie, is murdered. At first Adam is suspected, but then Lucy's brother is arrested for the crime. Since several other young women have also been murdered, Lucy tries to discover a connection among them that will exonerate him. Lucy can read and write, and her lively curiosity confounds Adam, who finds himself attracted to her while still considering her beneath him. Although Lucy gets herself into some dicey situations trying to find who really killed Bessie, the real danger comes from the family's battle with the plague that is killing thousands in London. Mistress Hargrave succumbs, but the rest of the family survive and retire to their country estate. When they return to the city, however, there is still a murderer to find. Calkin's debut mystery places her unusual detective in a world rich in carefully researched historical detail. Even mystery mavens who winkle out the killer may well enjoy the story anyway.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.