Face Down Beneath the Eleanor Cross
Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover), ISBN 0-312-20544-9
Susanna receives a coded message instructing her to meet Robert, her supposedly deceased spouse, at a lowlife London tavern. Susanna suspected her philandering hubby didn't really die of plague in France. Unfortunately for Susanna, instead of meeting Robert alive in the tavern, she finds him very much dead of poison beneath the ornate Eleanor Cross.
A skilled herbalist and healer, the finger of suspicion points immediately at Susanna. Indicted and imprisoned, Susanna gains temporary freedom when her friend Sir Walter Pendennis arranges for her to be furloughed until her trial. But Robert's enemies are many and Susanna's time is short. Why did Robert return to England after successfully faking his death? Did one of his many mistresses drop a deadly dose of poison into his last meal?
Face Down Beneath The Eleanor Cross plunges readers deep into an Elizabethan England that is rarely described. The author obviously researched the period thoroughly to create her wholly believable heroine and settings. Although the book's pace slows as Susanna plods from one of her husband's mistresses to the next, trying to winnow the truth from each, the well-fleshed characters keep you engrossed enough to stick with the story to the very end.
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