Friday, June 6, 2014
A Murder at Rosamund's Gate by Susanna Calkins
To quote from her website:
"I've had a morbid curiosity about murder in seventeenth-century England ever since grad school, in those days before I earned my Ph.D. in history. The ephemera from the archives - tantalizing true accounts of the fantastic and the strange - inspired my historical mysteries."
Calkins' knowledge of her subject shows clearly in the details of history and of place and setting in her novel. Lucy Campion is a chambermaid serving in the London household of a local magistrate. When another servant in the household is killed and someone Lucy is close to is charged with the murder, Lucy becomes involved in solving the murder and in resolving some other mysterious and disturbing situations.
Among the interesting historical specifics that add to the novel are politics and religion during the time of the Restoration, the plague, the Great Fire, London's markets and its foul streets, Newgate prison, gypsy camps, and the art of the period - including miniature portraits and popular ballads.
Lucy is a delightful character. Her intelligence, her friendships and her romantic involvements are the attributes of a real person living in an interesting time and place. I am pleased that the author plans more historical mysteries for Lucy to solve and I look forward to the growth of the character, as well as to the learning more of the history of the times.
Calkins's website, which includes a link to her blog, is
Check the catalog