My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have concluded that I like the concept of the Nicholas Segalla mysteries better than I like the mysteries themselves. “In the Time of the Poisoned Queen” discusses the mystery of whether Queen Mary of England died a natural death or was poisoned and, if poisoned, who poisoned her. Mary’s death was, of course, inextricably intertwined with the English succession and whether her half-sister, Elizabeth (a Protestant) would succeed her or whether a Catholic heir (possibly Mary, Queen of Scots) would be named. It was a time of great instability and uncertainty, which makes for fascinating storytelling.
Nicholas Segalla, a mysterious man who apparently cannot die, involves a historian, Ann Dukthas, in his story of how his investigation of Mary’s then-sickness proceeded and what conclusions he drew. The story is well done with well-conceived characters.
I take issue only because this is a period of history I’m interested in. The author revisits the issue of Elizabeth’s paternity (was she truly the daughter of Henry VIII or was Anne Boleyn unfaithful?). I found the author’s conclusion unpersuasive, which colored my ability to enjoy the book.
That being said, I do enjoy the underlying premise of this series. The writing, while a bit overwrought at times, is always about an interesting time period, and the books are quite enjoyable.