Saturday, December 24, 2016

DEATH AT ST. VEDAST by Mary Lawrence

Mary Lawrence

            Bianca Goddard is back! Her adventures continue in Mary Lawrence’s latest book, Death At St. Vedast, available December 27, 2016.

Mary Lawrence’s Bianca Goddard Mystery series are Historical Fiction set in Tudor England. We first met Bianca in The Alchemist’s Daughter (reviewed March 24, 2015) and were reunited with her in The Death of An Alchemist (reviewed January 4, 2016). Death At St. Vedast is Lawrence’s third installment in the series.

            Bianca Goddard is the Alchemist’s daughter. She creates balms and salves and the like in her room of Medicinals and Physickes, where she also performs her experiments and chemistries. Bianca’s husband, John, is apprentice to the silversmith, Boisvert. As Boisvert is getting married and moving, John arranges for them to move to Boisvert’s rent that adjoins the forge. The conditions of the arrangement, however, require that Bianca “forgo her chemistries” (Advance Reader’s Edition p. 14). Needless to say, Bianca was reticent about the impending move.

            While moving to the new home, Bianca encounters the body of a dead woman at St. Vedast Chuch, the nearby church where Boisvert is to be married. Was it “self-murder”? Was the woman pushed? Did she fall? Naturally, the curious Bianca wants to know. But, as the threads tied to the woman’s death weave closer to home, Bianca becomes curiouser. There is trouble at St. Vedast, and it impacts Boisvert’s wedding. More deaths follow. Although these appear to be disparate, isolated incidents, Bianca perseveres. By following the few, meandering, twisting-turning threads, she is able to tie them together and solve the mystery.

            As I have said in previous reviews of Lawrence’s work, the Bianca Goddard series provides a refreshing look at Tudor England, as Bianca is neither royal nor noble – she is simply common. However, Bianca is anything but ordinary. She is an intelligent and refreshing heroine.

            Death At St. Vedast is a well written, good, solid mystery. As with Death of An Alchemist, Lawrence includes a much appreciated Author’s Note at the end of Death At St. Vedast, although I would have liked to read more there about the mysterious illness encountered by Bianca. Completing Death At St. Vedast has left me feeling as I did after completing the first two Bianca Goddard mysteries: I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Bianca’s adventures.


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