A Play of Knaves (A Joliffe Mystery)
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From the pages of the Edgar-nominated Dame Frevisse series...
A ROYAL INTRIGUE...
In the late autumn of 1435, Joliffe and his fellow players are in London to perform for the Bishop Beaufort. But his Eminence has other duties in mind for the company. With the Duke of Bedford's passing, ambitious lords and clergymen are plotting to assume his role as advisor to the young King Henry VI - and the Bishop needs to know what his rivals are planning.
Dispatched to entertain - and spy on - England's royals, Joliffe and company encounter intrigue from various factions both within and without the kingdom. And when men who know too much begin to die in violent ways, the players start to fear for their own lives...
PRAISE FOR JOLIFFE
"[In A Play of Knaves] the author seamlessly weaves in period details that give the reader a true sense of the perils, beauty, and reality of life at this time. The mystery, as always, is expertly done, and revolves around true concerns of the time. Any reader interested in mysteries and history will find this one well worth the time." - CA Reviews
"If you are an historical mystery fan...you'll want to rush out and get this wonderful series ... Entertains and confounds with its intricately plotted mystery and richly detailed writing..." - The Romance Readers Connection
"Brings the period to lush life... Such richly imagined mysteries come around too rarely." - Roundtable Reviews
PRAISE FOR MARGARET FRAZER
"Prepare to be enchanted as Margaret Frazer transports you back to the 15th century." - Romantic Times
"More than just a good read. The reader comes away sadder and wiser, knowing that what tehy've read is that stuff of real life. Brava!" - Historical Novels Review
"A smooth and absorbing saga of conspiracy and treachery in 15th-century England... A tantalizing secret turns out to have stunning political implications." - Publishers Weekly
"Finely plotted and subtly shaded. Frazer has the detailed substance that brings an era to life, while her characters' psychological makeup is as cunningly wrought as the historical background." - Publishers Weekly
"Margaret Frazer has quietly claimed her place as one of the preeminent writers of historical crime fiction, delivering the whole package - a good mystery, wonderful characters, and a fascinating period of history. Her novels are a dream to read." - Aunt Agatha's Newsletter
Herodotus Award Winner.
Twice nominated for the Edgar Award
Twice nominated for the Minnesota Book Award
A Romantic Times Top Pick.
own fair hair for him. That done, Basset looked around at them all and asked, “Ready?” “Ready,” they answered. “How many?” he asked at Piers, who was peeking around one end of the fore-curtain. “A couple score or so,” Piers answered. That was a goodly number when playing so small a place as Ashewell. Basset nodded, satisfied. He looked at Gil. “Ready?” “Ready,” Gil said firmly. “Then go,” Basset said, and Gil went out, around one side of the fore-curtain into full view of all the
Hewgo had maybe had enough. Or maybe he thought it was his Christian duty to put a stop to Medcote’s fornications. No,” Joliffe corrected himself. “Given what I’ve seen of Father Hewgo, he’d rather have the sport of imposing heavy penance on Medcote for his sins and setting the bishop on him if Medcote didn’t comply. Or maybe Medcote knew something Father Hewgo didn’t want him to know. Or maybe Medcote knew something someone else didn’t want him to know. Or—” “Enough,” Basset said, running his
place like this. Aside from that, it was easier to pass through a village doing something other than simply walking with everyone staring, maybe none too friendly, wondering why they were there. So as they came up from the ford, Piers began to tootle on his pipes and rat-tat on his tabor, leading the way for Ellis and Gil, who set to making a show of juggling the bright-painted leather balls, while Joliffe thumped the curved bottom of his lute and sang an idiot song to let folk know the players
better for him. I do feel a need to see what’s being said in the village among ordinary folk. Fair Rose, what would you like for us to bring from there?” “Bread,” she said promptly. “There should be that at least, but I don’t know what else is likely. Whatever was to spare would have gone at the church ale, I’d think. You’d not rather go to Faringdon, I suppose?” That being a market town, there would be more to be bought in this lean time of the year when the winter stores were run low or out
those who had to do it, folk were generally willing to make a holiday of the time, and Joliffe suspected that in the latter was where Father Hewgo’s objection most deeply lay. He did not seem a man who favored jollity. Probably because people busy with jollity, pleasure, and joy were less biddable than people kept bowed under a heavy sense of their sins and the world’s wickedness. But Medcote cut over whatever protest the priest might have made, going on, “To raise money toward that east window