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A Play of Treachery (Joliffe the Player, #5)
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A Play of Treachery (Joliffe the Player #5)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  216 ratings  ·  29 reviews
At the behest of his powerful patron, Joliffe journeys to France to act as a servant to the widowed duchess Jacquetta of Bedford - while actually training in spycraft. But when a member of the duchess's household is murdered, Joliffe learns just how dangerous secrets can be...
Mass Market Paperback, 325 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Berkley (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 357)
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Kathy Davie
Fifth in the Joliffe medieval mystery series revolving around an actor/writer turned spy for the Bishop Beaufort. This story takes place in Rouen, France in early 1436.

My Take
I loved how Frazer pulled the origins of the Woodville family into this story. Sigh...young love that began a dynasty. I also love the political scheming and its back-and-forth, but I do miss the banter between the players. Still, Joliffe does get to be a part of the doings of the high and mighty. He also begins to discov
Fifth in this series by an author of fifteenth century mysteries good at giving cultural and social details of the historical context. In this one, Joliffe is sent to France, the city of Rouen, where he becomes immersed in the intrigues of the household of Lady Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford a beautiful and very wealthy young widow, niece of an influential bishop, who both the English and French forces would like to employ as an instrument in their struggles for enduring power in Normandy. Joliff ...more
Kilian Metcalf
Oh, Joliffe, I love you so. I'm so sorry that we will never learn more of your backstory, but I'm happy we have as much as we have.

Joliffe takes a big step from the small world of a traveling player into the greater world of politics at the highest level. The mighty ones have noticed his intelligence and abilities, and he is placed as a spy into the household of the Dowager Duchess of Bedford, the redoubtable Jaquetta. Married and widowed barely out of childhood, she is a woman alone in a world
Margaret Frazer has two mystery series, both of them taking place in medieval England - Sister Frevisse and Joliffe. While Sister Frevisse is a nun and somewhat cloistered, Joliffe is an actor, or player, and former scholar. He has provided investigative services to various men of power and otherwise spends his time as actor and playwright with a traveling troupe of actors.

In this story, a patron of his, the Bishop of Winchester, requests that Joliffe journey to English France in the company of
Jobiska (Cindy)
I enjoyed this next step in Joliffe's transition from full-time player to spy/agent. I did feel it moved somewhat slowly at first, but I know that was probably necessary to set the stage for his future ventures. In fact, I anticipated it, as this is a big departure from the stories of Joliffe solving murders while still serving as a player in his usual troupe, and I have seen enough tidbits of Joliffe's later life in the newer Frevisse books where she encounters him, so I knew the transitional w ...more
Patricia O'Sullivan
As an actor with a traveling company, Joliffe has played many roles. But when the Bishop Beaufort asks him to play the spy, Joliffe knows his skills will be tested. The year is 1436 and young King Henry VI is trying to secure his French lands against the Dauphin Louis. Joliffe must play the role of a clerk in a French household loyal to King Henry while also training to be a spy under a weapons master. The role is not difficult and Joliffe finds himself enjoying the luxury of living in a chateau ...more
Alison Dellit
It is such a shame that Frazer never got to write more of the Joliffe books, as the medieval spy-dom is just something she does so well. the complexity, and suffocation, of a noble household in Rouen at wartime is wonderfully drawn, and the exploration of another world of women possibly most intriguing.
Mary Munroe
Fifth in the series. I like the traveling better but this mystery is more complex and the history very interesting.
I've read the whole of the Chaucer-related series by Margaret Frazer, with the nuns. I loved them. And I read the first of these she has begun with the players. This one, though, if my very favorite 9so far as there are a couple others). Her descriptions of people and how they think and what they wonder about, about Joliffe and how he thinks about his place in the world -- of it had me thinking and nodding and wondering myself. Somehow she has been able, in this book, to use the language style s ...more
Bill Bradford
Towards the end of the book, as Joliffe is working on the final solution to the murder, he is described thus:
"Joliffe has rarely been satisfied with knowing the merely what of things. The why was what drew him, and mixed in with the why was always who".

This is a good nutshell statement of what makes Frazer's works so interesting. Not only are they historically fascinating, but they get deeply into the "why" of being human. Good at the first, this is one of the best at the latter.
Catherine  Mustread
A bit different than the first four books in the Joliffe the Player series, as Joliffe is separated from his troupe and sent as a spy to France for six months. Set in 1436 when tensions were high between England and France with the Duke of Burgundy switching his allegiance from England to France.

Great suspense, though a bit repetitive as Joliffe mulls over the options of who did what when and why.
This was too slow and confusing with the politics between England and France. I felt like this book spent too much time building up the scene and not enough with an actual mystery . . . although that could be my fault that I expected a mystery. The actual murder didn't occur until you were 80% finished with the book! I won't be pursuing any more of the Joliffe series.
I found this Joliff book a little more tedious than the other, perhaps because I was eager to finish the books I had on hand because of getting a bit behind on other reads. Nevertheless, the fascination for me continues because of the historical setting and socioeconomic insights. I wish Frazer would show us more of the character of Joliff, both internal and external.
Joliffe has his debt called in by the bishop, and is sent to Rouen to spy for him. I was interested in the medieval French (or, rather, Norman) setting and the mystery is a good one, although, like Joliffe, I missed the troupe of players with whom he usually keeps company. Also, the story ends in a sort of cliffhanger that isn't resolved. But it's a fine entry in this series.
Michelle Wardhaugh
Jun 23, 2011 Michelle Wardhaugh added it
Recommended to Michelle by:
In the end I liked it and look forward to what comes next. However, a lot of the political details in the beginning started to rather bore me, and the murder didn't happen until 2/3 the way through the book. I kept with it for love of the character and was rewarded. Now I just have to find a copy of the 6th book in the series.
It seems like every time I finish a Margaret Frazer book, I'm anxious for the next one. This one is no exception. It's a good spy story and a good murder mystery, although the murder comes rather late in the book. It's very enjoyable and I'm looking forward to see where Joliffe's adventures take him next!
The protag goes ndercover in a French household while learning to be a spy. Threats are rumored from Agnarmacs and Burgundians.

All in all, I could nto get into this story. The setting was interesting and the secrets and history. But all-in-all left me bored,.
Joliffe is off to France while the English are barely hanging on to their possession. It is a turbulent time, and Joliffe must learn new skills to survive even while enjoying the "soft life" of a bishop's household, posing as a clerk to the bishop's niece.
The Joliffe books are much less about murder mysteries and much more about hanging out with an interesting, clever character in an interesting, dangerous age. I felt my attention flagging about halfway through this one, but I really liked the ending.

Joliffe the player goes to France for his training as a spy. He arrives right in the middle of preparations for war, as the Dauphin tries to take back France from King Henry VI of England. Lots of politics in this one made it confusing.
Typically excellent story of medieval intrigue, set in England and France during the 100 Years War. The characters are realistic and the "history lessons" are sufficient to understand the setting without overwhelming the plot.
A new twist for this comfortable medieval series as the action moves out of England into France. Still very enjoyable because of the attention to historical detail and the characters.
Veronica Sanche
A different slant on historical mystery. Well written with a good plot that contained much too much political intrigue for me that I couldn't follow. Characters were good.
Christy English
I almost never read mysteries, but this one is good...I enjoyed the historical accuracy and the lovely details Ms. Frazer included.
Leslie Conner
This historial mystery novel is interesting for it's look at French and English culture, life and politics in 1436.
I really enjoy this series. If you like historical fiction and mysteries these books are for you!
Carolyn Rose
3.5 stars. Nice description and interesting time period and setting, but slow moving in places.
Not as good as other Joliffe books but definitely worth reading.
Jun 03, 2010 Ellen marked it as to-read
Shelves: tbr-owned
winter 1436
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Margaret Frazer is a pen name used at first by Mary Monica Pulver Kuhfeld and Gail Lynn Frazer writing in tandem for a series of historical medieval mysteries featuring Dame Frevisse. After the sixth novel, the works are written by Gail Frazer alone, and the name has subsequently been used exclusively by her. A second series of novels by Ms Frazer set in the same time and place feature the player/ ...more
More about Margaret Frazer...
The Novice's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #1) The Servant's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #2) The Bishop's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #4) A Play of Isaac (Joliffe the Player, #1) The Sempster's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #15)

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