The Fyre Mirror
An Elizabeth I Mystery
By Karen Harper
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312326920, 288pp.)
Publication Date: January 13, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Mass Market Paperback
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Elizabethan England comes alive as its young queen struggles to stop a serial killer who uses fire as a weapon. From commoner to courtier, from the delights of rural England to the streets of teeming London, the queen and her coterie turn detectors in Karen Harper's acclaimed mystery series.
Smitten with spring fever, Elizabeth Tudor escapes London for fantastical Nonsuch Palace in the sweet Surrey countryside. There she hopes to relax and pose for the official royal portrait for which she is holding a competition. Elizabeth is both delighted and dismayed when her young court artist, Gil Sharpe, returns early from schooling in Italy, where he has also been spying for the crown.
But one of her artists is burned to death, and portraits of the queen are going up in flames. When she hears that her rival, the dangerous Mary, Queen of Scots, has been peering in mirrors and announcing, "I see the next queen of England!" Elizabeth summons her Privy Plot Council.
Has the arsonist been sent by foreign foes or is it someone in her own court? Or is the "running boy" apparition really a ghost out to avenge a terrible past tragedy caused by the Tudors?
Time is running out, because the enemy who stalks the queen means to destroy not only her portraits and artists, but her very life.
Karen Harper is the author of six previous Elizabeth I mysteries: The Poyson Garden, The Tidal Poole, The Twylight Tower, The Queene's Cure, The Thorne Maze, and The Queene's Christmas. She also writes contemporary suspense novels, including the bestselling The Falls. Karen Harper lives in Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida.
"A truly vibrant protagonist, thoroughly satisfying characterization, attention to detail, and credible plotting mark this as an outstanding historical."
- Library Journal
"An appealingly courageous detective . . . "
- Kirkus Reviews
"Enjoyable….actual historical figures as the dour Sir William Cecil, the queen's secretary, and alchemist Dr. John Dee add color to this well-researched mystery."
- Publishers Weekly
"Fabulous . . . a thrilling reading experience. . . . Fans of the Ursula Blanches series by Fiona Buckley will definitely love this glimpse into a bygone era."
- Midwest Book Review
"Certain to please fans of historical mysteries. Harper's careful plotting and keen historical eye render this a true delight to read. Best of all, though, is Harper's characterization of Elizabeth and her detecting acumen. . . . what better way to spend wintry weekends than in catching up on the previous novels in this series, starting with The Poyson Garden."
- Mystery Lovers Bookstore