In the eighth installment of Buckley's popular Elizabethan series featuring Ursula Blanchard, Queen Elizabeth's half-sister, Ursula gets caught in a pair of plots that lead to murder.

Edward Dean, the Duke of Norfolk's secretary, is a charming young man determined to convince Ursula to allow him to marry her daughter, Meg. Ursula might be inclined to agree, but she's hes-itant after a messenger for the duke's banker is found murdered. As she inves-tigates the crime, Ursula discovers the duke is allied with Mary, Queen of Scots, and a sinister plot to kill Elizabeth so that Mary can ascend the English throne.

Buckley imbues her story with color-ful historical details, engaging characters and a rapid pace that ensure a quick, intelligent and lively read. (Feb., 288 pp., $24.00)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin