Murder at Fontainebleau
Elizabethan Mysteries, Book #5
By Amanda Carmack
Author website: http://amandacarmack.com/
In the latest Elizabethan mystery by the author of Murder at Whitehall, amateur sleuth Kate Haywood investigates deadly machinations unfolding behind the scenes in the magnificent French court.
- Queen Elizabeth’s throne is threatened as Mary Queen of Scots—pushed in every direction by opposing and powerful forces—declares herself the rightful Queen of England. To discover her rival’s next unpredictable move, Elizabeth dispatches a party of trustworthy intimates to Mary’s court at Fontainebleau. Chief among them is Kate Haywood, who finds that the glittering balls and genial banquets conceal a web of poisonous ambition that soon turns deadly.
When a beautiful and disruptively flirtatious member of the visiting party is murdered, Kate suspects that the man who stands accused has been set up to discredit Elizabeth. She vows to find the real killer, but the French court is a labyrinth unlike any she has ever navigated before—and at every turn there are more traps set to spring.
If you are a fan of the Elizabethan Era and/or Elizabethan Era Mysteries Murder at Fontainebleau is definitely for you. Kate Haywood is a great main character for so many reasons and I love reading about her. In a time where Queens ruled, women were more for looking at than being heard or truly seen as other than adornment. I have always found it odd, with such strong royal women such as Queen Elizabeth, Catherine de Medici and Mary Queen of Scots holding so much power, yet women were basically disregarded. Kate Haywood is a musician of excellent talent and has the ear and trust of her English Queen. Kate can go places most women cannot. Still being a woman and a musician she can be “stealth” and people take no notice of her, lips become loose and she can report back to her queen.
In 1561, Queen Elizabeth is faced with distressing news that her cousin, Mary Qeen of Scots, has declared herself the rightful Queen of England. Times are turbulent in Scotland, France and England. Mary’s young husband, King Francis has died and no one is sure what her plans are now. Will she try to stay in France, the only country she has truly known, will she try to find a husband/ruler or will she return to Scotland as their queen? And is she does return to Scotland, will she try to lay claim to the English throne? Elizabeth needs her confidants, including Kate, to discover what Mary’s plans entail. Mary is recovering from her loss and problems with her health in the picturesque Fontainebleau.
While at court one of the members of the visiting English party dies. Amelia seemed to attract the attention of every man in court and had even been the center of a duel the last time she was there at French court. Kate and others believe her death is murder. Mary even insinuates that one of the English killer her. Kate sets out to find the real killer in hopes of keeping Elizabeth’s name clear. So many people are suspects for so many different reasons. Along the way to finding the answers, Kate has to play the games of court. Dances, fetes, dinners, hawking, séances. Queen Mary and Regent Catherine both desire and enjoy her company. Kate has a hard time figuring out who to trust, if anyone ever says what they mean, who is a spy and who are they spying for. Luckily her actor friend Rob is also along.
Murder at Fontainebleau is a wonderful mystery set in Elizabethan times and it is truly stupendous. The characters – historical and fictional – are well developed and come to life on the page. The historical characters are just as entertaining as the fictional ones, yet true to their history. Author Amanda Carmack has, as always, done an amazing job with her research. That said, even if you have no knowledge of the key figures in this time period, you will still enjoy the read. This is the 5th in the series “An Elizabethan Mystery”, however you can read it as a standalone without any problems. Any fan of this time period will be enthusiastically delighted by this great novel. Intrigue, espionage, court life and descriptive writing keep this wonderful read royally satisfying. Kate is a fabulous protagonist that is always a pleasure to follow as she winds her way through each mystery. I loved it.