Carol's Reviews > The Siren Queen

The Siren Queen by Fiona Buckley
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's review
Aug 27, 2008

really liked it
Recommended to Carol by: store find
Recommended for: Goodreads Friends!
Read in September, 2008

FABULOUS! Possibly four and a half stars!!

"Mystery at Queen Elizabeth I's Court" drew me in like a moth to a light. Historical mystery?! LOVE it! Buckley weaves a tapestry of characters together in a wonderfully gossipy way. It's like your best friend, whom you haven't seen in forever, has sat down to tell you all that's happened to her since seeing her last; only better because of the intrigue and mystery!

When I first purchased this book, I did not realize that it is the 8th or 9th in a series called the "Ursula Blanchard mysteries". And, other than I want to read all the others now, it didn't make much difference. Buckley gives the history you need to know in the first few pages. It is very possible to read this book on its own, but I suspect much better to start at the beginning to see all the characters grow. I will definitely be looking for the predecessors to this one and reading them!

The characters, by the way, are wonderfully developed. Compared to most "elizabethan" fiction in which the characters are often heavy, Buckley's are like a breath of fresh air. Her heroine, Ursula Blanchard Stannard, is surrounded by people who genuinely like her and care for her as she does them. As the mystery unfolds, she doesn't keep absolutely everything a secret; carrying the burden by herself. She shares it with others which is fresh, warm and (to me) slightly more realistic than these spies that can't and don't tell anyone they love anything about what they do.

The mystery of this book evolves around the Ridolfi plot to restore Mary of Scotland to the Scottish throne (and then some), but the mystery is more than discovering the plot. There are murders to solve and romances to resolve throughout. The Ridolfi plot, by the way, is real. I looked it up! How Buckley brings it together, especially with the number of people involved (and from all different backgrounds and social classes) is amazing.

When reading a mystery, I'm always on the lookout for things that seem to be nothing, but later are something. There were plenty in this book! What's fabulous about Buckley is the twists she has when bringing some of these things back. I can safely say I didn't even come close to guessing how some little thing would twist the story as it did and I thoroughly loved the twist and she brought everything together!

It was a joy to see all the layers of this great story woven together. As I said, it made a beautiful tapestry; an easy to read, easy to enjoy mystery!

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