London in the spring of 1665 is a city full of fear. There is plague in the stews of St Giles, the Dutch fleet is preparing to invade, and a banking crisis threatens to leave Charles II's government with no means of paying for the nation's defence.Amid the tension, Thomas Chaloner is ordered to investigate the murder of Dick Wheler, one of the few goldsmith-bankers to have survived the losses that have driven others to bankruptcy - or worse. At the same time, a French spy staggers across the city, carrying the plague from one parish to another.
Chaloner's foray into the world of the financiers who live in and around Cheapside quickly convinces him that they are just as great a threat as the Dutch, but their power and greed thwart him at every turn. Meanwhile, the plague continues to spread across the city, and the body count from the disease and from the fever of avarice starts to rise alarmingly . . .
©2014 Susanna Gregory (P)2015 Isis Publishing
This is a continuation of the adventures of Thomas Chaloner who works for the Earl of Clarendon. The problem this time concerns the banking system at a time when the king needs money to fight a potential invasion from the Dutch. Bankruptcy has wiped out most of the bankers but suddenly one of them gets murdered. Chaloner is ordered to investigate. This leads him into the underground and criminal world of banking at this time.
To complicate matters the plague is sweeping the city and vigilantes are boarding up plague houses for 40 days to prevent its spread.
Chaloner must avoid the plague and the bankers who are out to murder him to solve this mystery. Like all Chaloner books it is well written and based on historical events. Most of the characters were real people which makes the book doubly enjoyable.
I really like Susanna Gregory as a writer. I do prefer her Matthew Bartholomew mysteries to the Thomas Chaloner, but this is probably because I prefer the middle ages in England to the Restoration period. But this is still an excellent book with an excellent narrator. If you like historical mysteries, you will enjoy this one.
"Great fun as usual mixed with historical accuracy"
Susanna Gregory is an excellent writer with her main character giving an inside view of the absurdity of some of the lifestyles of the day, especially of the aristocracy! She manages to combine humour with historical accuracy in a way that is very rare and I have thoroughly enjoyed all her books.
"Just needs music"
Populated by a cast of clowns , the ineptitude of the main characters beggars belief , falling down , bumping into each other and sawing through bindings with pen nibs , it's no wonder that seventeenth century London was in such a state , if it were set to music you could put it on as a musical farce . The narrator did a masterful job by not bursting into laughter while he did his best to get through this fantasy
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