There couldn’t be a more apt title for this historical mystery, which revolves around the hunt for a serial killer who poses his victims as deposed English kings, alarming those who would protect the country’s newly crowned ruler, Edward VII. This includes Lady Emily Hargreaves and her husband, Colin, who work feverishly to try to identify the killer while also trying to unravel the story behind a mysterious note handed to Colin by Edward VII’s mother, Queen Victoria, as she lay dying.
Despite being part of a long-running series, readers will find that it is easy to step right into Emily and Colin’s world, even if they haven’t read the earlier books. A large part of the charm of the story lies in the relationship between the couple, which is refreshingly modern compared to their more repressed counterparts in the Victorian era. Lady Emily is well ahead of her time, following clues wherever they take her, including to London’s seedier side. With an expert eye for detail, author Tasha Alexander does a superb job of depicting not only the different facets of the city, but the chasm between the upper and lower classes.
Emily and Colin’s story is intertwined with chapters following the relationship of another couple, William and Cecily Hargrave. In service to King Henry in the 1400s, their marriage began the Hargrave/Hargreaves’ line, and it is interesting to see the parallels between the more “modern” couple and that of their ancestors. Service to country and king is a thread that runs throughout the story, and it is this sacred duty, passed down through generations, that finally reveals the purpose behind Queen Victoria’s request.
As Emily and Colin enter the Edwardian age, there’s no doubt that faithful readers will want to follow them.