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A Murder for Her Majesty
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A Murder for Her Majesty

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,464 ratings  ·  114 reviews
"Dead?" asked a voice nearly directly below Alice. She started, then held her breath, terrified.

"Dead," Crofton confirmed. "The Queen will be pleased, I do believe..."


Hidden in a tree, Alice Tuckfield had seen the whole thing: her father riding along with one of his "friends" from London, the arrow that had come out of nowhere, and the meeting between the two men who now w
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Hardcover, 241 pages
Published October 1st 1986 by Houghton Mifflin (first published January 20th 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,464)
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Sydney
What a wonderful book this is! This was my second time reading it, and I found it just as enjoyably, if not more enjoyable, than when I first read it. If you like historical fiction, mixed with a little mystery and suspense, plus some humor, than you must read this book. It had it all.

I will warn you that this book is very hard to put down. I read in less than 24 hours! Partly because I have a habit of finishing books reasonably fast, but still, that's a record for me. It has a great plot, and I
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Chris
A Murder for Her Majesty doesn't waste time getting started. Right in the first chapter, Alice is running away from home, and gets brought in by a group of choirboys, who decide to hide her in their house and even come up with a plan to disguise her as one of them. It's through flashback and background information that we find out how she got there.

Alice had witnessed her father being murdered by two men, who claimed to be working for the Queen of England. Scared for her life, she heads off to L
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Lydia
I usually criticize books, and pick on every single bad thing about them. The characters are weak... The plot was limp, and "horrid"... Or, most terribly, the storytelling was atrocious.
That wasn't the case with this book. And it pleasantly surprised me with no feminist sort of messages. "Girls can be like guys." "Girls are just as good as guys." "Girls aren't weak." "Girls are best." To those of you who know me well enough, you can probably imagine me saying those messages in a mocking tone.
Ho
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Terri Lynn
I never allow myself to miss out on a good read because a book is labeled for children or young adults. A good story is a good story no matter where it is stashed in the library or bookstore.

In this most excellent story, 11 year old Alice quite accidentally witnessed her father's murder by two of his visitors from a tree on her father's estate. Overhearing the killers talking about what to do about her and something about how Queen Elizabeth 1 would be happy he was dead, she flees with only the
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Anna
I loved this book. In fact, about 25 pages before the end, I misplaced it in the house and had to turn everything upside down to find it. I really wanted to finish it, even though I knew everything would turn out well for the heroine. I think boys and girls would enjoy this book. There's lots of action. The main character is a girl, but nearly every other character is male. The choir boys are jolly and determined and always up for mischief.

I read this to figure out when my children might be rea
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Ashley
Aug 20, 2011 Ashley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ashley by: Amy
I loved this book. It was fun, mysterious, and breath-taking all at the same time.

The driving force of this book was the characters, and they were written marvelously well. I fell in love with Alice and her propensity to tell her superiors off. I grinned at Geoffrey, Orlando, Randall, and Nate, and their mischievous ways; I also admired their desire to help and protect Alice. The descriptions of the professors was amazing and very life-like; I came to love and understand the professors, even if
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Bob Collins
Well written historical novel; suspenseful. My daughter read this for a 7th grade reading assignment and enjoyed it and passed it on to me. Good book!
Bethany
Feb 24, 2015 Bethany rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, especially children.
It's not just because I'm a music lover... This book is wonderful!

Alice Tuckfield is forced to go into hiding when she witnesses her father's murder, but she never expects to be taken in by the boys of the parish choir. They hide her, befriend her, and eventually champion her as she discovers to stay one step ahead of her father's murderers.

One note for the author: You ought to have helped me get to know the boys better. Instead, Timothy was the same as Nate was the same as Randall (You get the
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Lydia
This book was utterly enjoyable. The characters were likable and had believable traits. A good mixture of action, scene-setting, and dialogue kept the pages turning.

In some respects, it was reminiscent of "The Five Little Peppers" by Sidney or "Eight Cousins" by Alcott in that it dealt with poverty, generosity during hard times, takes place in a historical setting, and features rambunctious boys.

Some of the vocabulary will be over the head of anyone not familiar with Catholicism, as nearly the
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Catherine
I have adored this book for far too long to give it less than five stars. Maybe theoretical-adult me should take half a star back for a little too much reliance on coincidence and overheard conversations, but Goodreads doesn't do half stars and I think this book deserves to be rounded up. Music! Churches! Friendship! School story! No wonder I loved this so much as a child. Also a thing I somehow never picked up on before: Alice spends much of this book getting herself into trouble exactly the sa ...more
Emily
This is the kind of MG/YA historical fiction I don't think they publish often anymore--as much about the setting as about the plot or characters. It wasn't gripping for a suspense story, but it was fun to read. There are lots of details about the lives of the Elizabethan choirboys in York Cathedral, with a few anachronisms thrown in, but they didn't detract from making the book feel like a (fairly safe and gentle) excursion into Elizabethan York. I'm a history geek, so I liked it, and I think yo ...more
Kaylynn Gesner
This book is one of my best friend's favorites and when we were 13 she lent it to me to read. I fell in love with the writing and the characters. It took me back to being young and scared (not that I was ever in that situation), but it was the emotions that felt raw and innocent.
I returned to this book when the same friend gave it to me on my 18th birthday. My feelings haven't changed.
This book is ageless. Great for middle school kids, high school, and adults. The plot is simple but the writin
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Mailee Pyper
I think I would have liked this book a lot better if I had read it as a child. Some of the plot seemed a little forced to me. Some of the actions of the main characters seem a little off as well, this may simply be because the book is written in 3rd person so you can't actually get inside the characters head very well, and it's been a while since I was an eleven year old girl.

That said, I enjoyed the book. The interplay between characters was enjoyable (especially between Alice and the organ ma
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Rachel
Fun read. Lots of musical connections
Megan
Alice witnesses her father's murder on their estate and while trying to reach safety with a family friend, she meets a group of boys who sing in the nearby cathedral's choir. They offer her a place to stay for the night and then decide it would be fun to disguise Alice as a boy and see if they can sneak her into the choir without the choirmaster noticing. Deciding the cathedral would be a safe place to hide, Alice agrees to the plan. As she struggles to keep her true identity a secret from her f ...more
Kellyn
Alice Tuckfield, age 11, hidden in a tree on her father’s estate, watches in horror as a guest kills her father while accompanied by another guest. Alice listens as these men say that Queen Elizabeth will be pleased with this murder. Alice hides until she is certain that the murderers have left. Gradually she makes her way to the Cathedral at York where she hopes to find food and temporary shelter. As she turns a corner a young boy, Geoffrey, runs into her and knocks her out. Geoffrey helps Alic ...more
næntsi
I've been craving a book with music as a vital part of the story for a very long time, and I'm happy that it was a part of this one. It's a book that I'm sure I would have loved reading as a child. I can just picture myself puzzling over the few technical terms that came with the different voices in the choir, or the pedals for the organ that Alice had to pull in the Christmas Eve service, only to realize what they were referring to years later as I reread it. But since I didn't actually read it ...more
Mary
This is one of those nostalgia-heavy books that looms large in my childhood memory, and given that, I was anxious it wouldn't hold up. It's true that- great as it is- it's probably not a book most people would enjoy first reading as adults. There's a simplicity to the narrative that reminds me of my own first attempts at storytelling: characters consistently propose a problem - and solve it- in a single paragraph. But perhaps that's why the book is so fantastic to read at 10. It has the style an ...more
Jessy Fares
Alice Tuckfield, an eleven year old girl, witnesses in horror as her father is murdered by his trusted friends, claiming the murder by the name of the queen. She happens to run in to a group of choir boys, who help to disguise her as a boy, little do they know her secret and how much danger her life is in. She joins a kind of school that is only for choir boy band and her teacher, Mr. Kenton, a great pianist decides to teach her how to play piano. The rest of the kids and teachers are amazed be ...more
The other John
This tale is a combination of two clichés: the endangered child who is forced to fend for his or herself, and the child who pretends to be a kid of the opposite gender. In this case, the child is Alice Tuckfield, an upper class eleven-year-old in 16th Century England. Her mother had died some years before and as the story starts she has just witnessed the murder of her father. She makes her way to Yorkshire, in an attempt to contact a friend of her father's. Tired, hungry and cold, she encounter ...more
Sarah
I felt like I had read this book before, and, after looking at the original date (1986), maybe I did! It's a clean, safe read, but I'm not a fan of the new cover. It's a good read for upper elementary kids. Alice is 11 and is forced out of the comfort of her estate when her father is killed. She isn't sure who to go to because she overhears men saying that the queen will be pleased of his death. In search of her father's female friend, she travels to York and accidentally meets some young boys w ...more
Dlora
This is a repeat read of this fine youth mystery set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1. Young Alice Tuckerfield witnesses the murder of her father, and fearing that the Queen sanctioned it, Alice runs away to York where she pretends to be a boy and joins the cathedral boys' choir. I loved the music details about choral singing and playing the cathedral organ. The only reason I gave the book only four stars (when I've always remembered it as a 5-star book) is that it ended a bit too quickly a ...more
Kristen Smith
This book tried my patience. The plot was too implausible for me. If it had been introduced better--had Alice explained her situation to the choir boys from the start, for example--it would have been a better read.
As it is, it's a decent adventure for kids aged 8 to 10, although there is quite a bit of swearing--mostly 'damnable' but a few very inappropriate uses of the Lord's name that would be offensive to adults, let alone children. I think that this age group might find it a very fun romp of
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Megan Driscoll
I absolutely loved this book when I was younger and when I picked it up again a few months ago I fell in love with it all over again. Alice is a lovable young heroine and all of her adventurous friends keep the story fun and interesting from cover to cover! The childlike innocence is refreshing for a young adult reader like me. I would recommend this book to anyone
Chloe
I just loved this book! After I read it ( in the span of 2 days) I reread my favourite parts three times over! Definitely one of my all time favourites. Very fast paced and action filled. Also, it gives plenty of detail into the life of a choirboy and the lifestyle of people of that time and area. I read it for school, and I'm so glad I did. A GREAT book!
 Tara ♪
Very nice. A very happy read, for the most part, but with a hint if Alice's past life. The end did have some suspense, although, to paraphrase the dean, "you [the boys] were a bit luckier than anyone has a right to be" when they found alice with master kenton's help. Very nice, quick little read. Recommend for ages ten and up, simply because alice is eleven and younger readers, therefore, wouldn't enjoy it as much, but really, someone younger could read it if they had good comprehension skills. ...more
Audrey
Alice Tuckerfield watches her father's murder, and hears the plan for her own. She immediately runs away to Yorkshire, where she bumps into a group of mischievous choir boys. They give her shelter, and decide to disguise her as a choirboy, christening her "Pup". Alice forges friendships and makes enemies. Soon Alice discovers that one of the murderers works at the cathedral school. She begins to confide in her friends her story, but she is abruptly kidnapped. Her friends, and some of her teacher ...more
Lois
A Murder For Her Majesty is a sweet little book that will appeal most to young teens. I read it, thinking to give it to my 11 year old niece, although she might struggle with some of the "big" words like inscrutably, unrepentantly, lamentably, impertinent, or innuendoes, to list a few.

Eleven year old Alice witnesses the murder of her father, and in her desperate flee to seek a friend, is befriended by some members of a boys choir. They disguise her as one of them and sneak her into the choir bu
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Pam
Yay, a mystery for middle schoolers and enjoyable! An underrepresented genre for children and yet it appeals to so many of them. In this terrific read a daughter witnesses the murder of her father at the hands of Queen Elizabeth's courtiers. Terrified and scared for her life she escapes to York and finds herself disguised as a boy in the cathedral choir. What ensues is friendship, drama, and court intrigue as Alice tries to evade capture and discovery. The characters are charming though one coul ...more
Laura
Mar 31, 2014 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all ages
Recommended to Laura by: local author working on a mystery
A fun read - with intriguing Elizabethan escape that involves young girl posing as choirboy to avoid being found by the men who have murdered her father.
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Beth Hilgartner has published six previous books: three fantasies, a historical fiction novel, a picture book, and a dark fantasy. She is an Episcopal priest, an award-winning author, a musician, a flower farmer, an equestrian, a maker of historical instruments (recorders), and chronically short of sleep. She lives in Orford, NH--no, not Oxford--with her husband and their four seriously pampered c ...more
More about Beth Hilgartner...
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