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A Lady Grace Mystery

By Jan Burchett and Sara Vogler writing as Grace Cavendish

Delacorte, ($7.95)
ISBN: 0-385-73321-6

For ages 10-14

Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel

The fourth book in the Lady Grace Mysteries is written in the form of the diary, or daybooke, of Lady Grace Cavendish, a thirteen-year-old Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I.Grace's mother, a close companion to the queen, had saved her life by drinking poisoned wine meant for the queen. Elizabeth took the girl into her court and vowed to protect her always.Grace, an inquisitive and resourceful girl, has proved to be useful in solving mysteries and ferreting out those who wish the queen ill, earning her the title of "Lady Pursuivant."

While attending the Frost Fair on the frozen Thames River one of the Maids finds the body of a murdered waterman, Will Stubbs. Two silver coins have been placed on his eyes.When Grace looks closely, she sees that they are counterfeit versions of the latest coinage, not yet in public issue.English currency is in a shaky state, and the release of counterfeit money could be disastrous to the kingdom. With Elizabeth's blessing, Grace sets out to discover who is behind this scheme.

Grace enlists her closest friends, Ellie, a laundress, and Masou, an African entertainer, and they get into some pretty tight spots on the way to solving the crime.This series, which will appeal more to girls, gives us a charming look into the life at the English court, and provides an interesting historical overview of the mansions and mean streets of sixteenth century London.The authors provide a glossary and an historical note about Queen Elizabeth and her reign.This could be a model for what historical mysteries for the younger set should be.

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