Few would consider Renaissance Italian Lucrezia Borgia an innocent heroine. History records her as a manipulative murderer, but Gellis uses her talents to have us believe she was framed for murder—and believe we do.

After her husband's death, Lucrezia is once more married off, for political reasons, to Alonzo, heir to a duke. For her, the marriage represents freedom from horrible rumors about a supposed incestuous relationship and poisoning spree.

But her relief is short-lived when her husband accuses her of poisoning his mistress. Lucrezia claims she had nothing to do with Bianca's death, and now has to prove her innocence.

With help from a trusted servant and a few loyal friends, Lucrezia launches an investigation that sweeps from the palace to perfumeries, from masked balls to used-clothing stalls, until she uncovers a plot that goes deeper than she suspected.

This fast-paced and gripping mystery has more red herrings than a fish market and enough history to intrigue a historian. A perfect blend of history and mystery that will satisfy the most discerning fan. (Sep., 336 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin