A Murder By Any Name by Suzanne M. Wolfe
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Crooked Lane Books
Hardcover & eBook; 326 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
When a brutal murder threatens the sanctity of the Elizabethan court, it’s up to a hot-tempered spy to save the day.
The court of Elizabeth I is no stranger to plotting and intrigue, but the royal retinue is thrown into chaos when the Queen’s youngest and sweetest lady-in-waiting is murdered, her body left on the high altar of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall Palace. Solving the murder will require the cunning and savvy possessed by only one man. Enter Nicholas Holt, younger brother of the Earl of Blackwell—spy, rake, and owner of the infamous Black Sheep tavern in the seedy district of Bankside. Nick quickly learns that working for the Queen is a mixed blessing. Elizabeth—salty-tongued, vain, and fiercely intelligent—can, with a glance, either reward Nick with a purse of gold or have his head forcibly removed.
When a second lady-in-waiting is slain at Whitehall, the court once again reels with shock and dismay. On the trail of a diabolical killer, Nick and his faithful sidekick—an enormous Irish Wolfhound named Hector—are treading on treacherous ground, and only the killer’s head on a platter can keep them in the Queen’s good graces.
First of all, any novel taking place during Elizabeth I's reign which includes William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe --- I am definitely there! You throw in a good murder mystery with a great protagonist who has an intimidating Irish wolfhound as a sidekick, well, you have the makings of a really fun, page-turning romp of a read!
The Prologue to A Murder by Any Name is a bit different from the rest of the book - it is told mostly from the perspective of Cecily, the doomed lady in waiting. This kind of threw me off for a bit, but from chapter 1 on, the book is from Nick's perspective. The novel then becomes a really fun murder mystery. The prologue kind of gives the reader a glimpse of Elizabeth's court from the inside and shows poor Cecily's innocence and the life of a lady in waiting.
I found the characters to be interesting and engaging. I'm definitely ready to read the next installment of Nick's adventures -- he and Hector make a great team and meet some really interesting people - not least are Will and Kit - because, of course! The slight time discrepancy -which the author acknowledges - didn't bother me a bit.
This murder mystery was actually really well organized, well written and highlights the vast differences between life at court and life for the masses. Nick and Hector fit in at court, at the tavern and the streets of London, making for a really diverse picture of London. The novel covers the extravagance and relative comfort at court to the hunger and squalor of the streets and everything in between.
As far as solving this mystery goes - the author had me guessing throughout the novel. And she was quite tricky - every time I thought I had it figured out, I was shown to be woefully in error. Props for totally keeping me hanging and unsuspecting of how this would turn out! A Murder by Any Name was a very fun and entertaining read and I can't wait to read the next book. There will be be a next book, right? There had better be! This was probably the most fun I've had reading a book in quite a while. A Murder by Any Name will certainly appeal to fans of Shakespeare and Marlowe, of course, as well as those who enjoy Elizabethan era novels and mysteries. I highly recommend it.
Praise for A Murder By Any Name
“Captivating… Fans of Fiona Buckley’s Ursula Blanchard and Kathy Lynn Emerson’s Rosamond Jaffrey will be delighted to add Wolfe to their reading lists.” ―Booklist
“[A] promising series launch… Fans of Elizabethan historicals will be satisfied.” ―Publishers Weekly
“An excellent series kickoff by Wolfe that cleverly highlights both the mystery and the many ills of Elizabethan times.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“In vivid passages, Suzanne Wolfe’s novel brings to the reader the light and dark of Elizabethan England, its squalor and splendor, filth and riches, intrigues and delights.” ―NY Journal of Books
“A deeply atmospheric and richly textured Elizabethan mystery... I was captivated by Nicholas and Hector as they navigated court treachery and the dark recesses of the lower classes in this compelling Elizabethan mystery.” ―Shelley Freydont, New York Times bestselling author
"Wolfe’s descriptions are unparalleled, immersing the reader in the time period as they join her wily protagonist on his quest to catch a cold-hearted killer.” ―Anna Lee Huber, bestselling author of the Lady Darby Mysteries
"I stayed up reading much too late to finish this book! Wonderful Elizabethan atmosphere, well-drawn and unusual characters, action and intrigue and excitement―I felt like I was in the 1570s" ―Amanda Carmack, award-winning author of the Elizabethan mysteries
“Bewitching! Suzanne Wolfe opens the door to Elizabethan life through her masterful creation of the sympathetic spy, Nicholas Holt. An exciting start to a promising new historical mystery series.” ―Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award-winning author of the Mas Arai series
“A classically plotted whodunit set against the background of Elizabethan London and the court of Queen Elizabeth the First, both of them well researched and vividly realized, with a wealth of detail. One can almost smell the reek of the 16th century streets and waterways.” ―Fiona Buckley, author of the Ursula Blanchard Elizabethan mysteries
About the Author
Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and taught literature and creative writing there for nearly two decades. Wolfe is the author of three novels: A Murder by Any Name, The Confessions of X, and Unveiling.
Thirty years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families. Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington.
For more information, please visit Suzanne M. Wolfe's website
. You can also find her on Facebook
, and Goodreads
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, December 17
Review at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, December 18
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, December 19
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather
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Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
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Feature at What Is That Book About
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Review at Carole's Ramblings
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Review at Tar Heel Reader
Review at Amy's Booket List
Monday, December 31
Review at Tudor Enthusiast
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Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
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Excerpt at T's Stuff
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Friday, January 4
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Monday, January 7
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
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Guest Post at On the Tudor Trail
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Review at Reading the Past
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Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Clarissa Reads it All
Friday, January 11
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Feature at View from the Birdhouse
Monday, January 14
Review at Maiden of the Pages
Tuesday, January 15
Interview at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, January 16
Review at A Book Geek
Thursday, January 17
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
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A Murder By Any Name