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Chisholm, P F - 'An Air of Treason'
Paperback: 322 pages (Feb. 2014) Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press ISBN: 1464202222

Oxford 16th September 1592.

After his hair-raising adventures in London, Sir Robert Carey has finally tracked down the Queen who is about to make a state visit to Oxford. But instead of giving him his much-needed warrant and fee for being Deputy Warden of the West March with Scotland, Her Majesty orders him to investigate the most dangerous cold case of her reign - the mysterious death of Amy Dudley nee Robsart, unloved wife of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the Queen's long ago favourite suitor and potential husband. Since the Queen herself is one of the most obvious suspects for Amy's murder, Carey is not happy about this. And then somebody nearly manages to poison him with belladonna which blinds him temporarily. Worse still, Sergeant Dodd has totally disappeared on the road from London. As the Queen's scandalous past collides with her magnificent State entrance into Oxford, can Carey recover from being blinded by poison in time to find both Dodd and the true murderer of Amy Robsart?

This multi-faceted story alternates with the continuing story of Sir Robert Carey and his problems and the worse difficulties of his sidekick Sergeant Dodd, who is attacked knocked unconscious and when he recovers discovers he is stark naked and in the countryside. His attackers have stolen all his clothes, his boots and his weapons!

AN AIR OF TREASON is very atmospheric and deftly plotted. The characters are richly drawn and very imaginative. The details of the book are fascinating and it gives a very vivid picture of life at this time. I was transported every time I picked up this highly imaginative story to the time described.Very masterly story telling and highly imaginative and wonderfully evocative of Elizabethan times.

The author Patricia Finney, who has written many books under different pen-names, has written six books with these protagonists and using the name 'P F Chisholm'. Her research is first rate and the books are full of period detail. It is a clever combination of historical detail and crime fiction. The marvellous plot with dramatic twists and turns is both vivid and knowledgeable and the widely diverse scenes kept me transfixed until the last page. It was one of the most atmospheric historical novels I've read in years. There are a few red herrings to draw the reader to the wrong conclusion before the surprising ending. There is a wry humour to the presentation of this story and it is a real page turner but also peopled with zany characters that are wonderfully well presented. Impeccably researched infused with period detail. This is the first of this author's books that I have read and I will make certain that it won't be the last. Extremely well recommended.

Terry Halligan, England
November 2014

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 9/11/2014 14:03