A Plague of Angels

A Plague of Angels by P.F. Chisholm. Many years ago I read one of Patricia Finney’s Elizabethan historical novels and enjoyed it a great deal. I was not aware she also wrote historical mysteries under the name P.F Chisholm until I wandered around some at Library Thing. Although the author’s web site indicates that a new title in this series is forthcoming, it has been ten years since Plague of Angels was published as the fourth, and most recent, installment in the Sir Robert Carey line. In this adventure, the political infighting that was a hallmark of Elizabeth’s advisors has taken a nasty turn. Both Lord Chamberlain Hunsdon, Carey’s father, and Vice Chamberlain Thomas Heneage vie for the Queen’s attention and wish to be her most trusted confidante. Hunsdon’s elder son Edmund has disappeared and the Chamberlain fears that Heneage will use whatever scandal Edmund’s gotten himself into as blackmail material against the entire family. Therefore, he has summoned Robert back to London from his retreat in Scotland to investigate. Carey has brought with him his trusted Sergeant Dodd, his valet Barnabus and Barnabus’ nephew Simon. Whereas Dodd has rarely ventured outside Scotland and views the London metropolis as another planet, Barnabus and Simon are both natives, knowledgeable of the city’s treasures and dangers. The mystery surrounding Edmund’s disappearance is very slow to unfold, but in the interim readers are entertained by Dodd’s fish-out-of-water situation, both relating to the city and to the maze-like political scene filled with spies in every household and by Carey’s own familial squabbles and problems with creditors. Finney/Chishom does a fine job of capturing London’s atmosphere and the court scene and Heneage and his associates prove to be formidable villains. I think beginning the series would give readers a better sense of how Carey and his crew, especially Dodd, formed their alliances.


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