The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb
Paperback Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Paperback; 256 Pages
Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book One
Praise for The Service of the Dead“Robb’s deft hand creates a realistic political and commercial climate as King Richard II’s reign draws to a close in 1399. Comparable to Sara Poole’s Poisoner mysteries and Ariana Franklin’s Adelia Aguilar series, with its strong political setting and multiple plot strands.” (Booklist) “A historical novel that deftly captures politics and interactions between different social interests in late medieval England…against the backdrop of social pressures and military actions, Kate’s character and world shine and draw readers into her choices and challenges.” (California Bookwatch) “Kate Clifford is a wonderful creation, hard-nosed in some respects, compassionate and caring on the other. I look forward to the next installment of this delightful series!” (Historical Novels Review) “The novel resonates with its compelling portrayal of an England on the brink of crisis.” (Publishers Weekly) “The Service of the Dead is a tasty brew of political intrigue, larceny, and murder set within the walls of medieval York. Candace Robb’s latest historical mystery is steeped in the atmosphere of the late fourteenth century, and in Kate Clifford she’s given us a no-nonsense heroine and sleuth who is not only smart, but fierce when those she cares about are threatened. You’re going to love her.” (Patricia Bracewell, author of the Emma of Normandy Trilogy) “The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb is a strikingly well-crafted novel that is a compelling page-turner from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for community library historical fiction collections.” (Midwest Book Review)
Although I appreciate historical fiction, it has been a while since I have spent time with a really good historical mystery. While I wanted to race through the pages I also wanted to make this book last.
I enjoyed the historical detail and proper language. The writing is excellent. In society there are rules for everything, there is also real life and survival. Kate is of the noble class, but she struggles the same as everyone else, regardless of stature. She has bills to pay and people dependent upon her for their keep. Sadly, when put in this position, one also never knows who to fully trust.
Trust and betrayal are a major theme of this book.
A murder is committed in a house owned by Kate. Her livelihood depends upon secrecy and balancing her moral codes with her financial bottom line. Being a widow and in business with her late husband's family puts Kate in a precarious position. She learns that her own cousin is wrapped up in the mystery and deceit surrounding this murder. When another murder occurs and triggers repressed memories for Kate, she begins to wonder about motive and true target. Throughout she is trying her best to understand and protect her family and those loyal to her while trying to survive. The addition of her dogs, central to the story, is a nice inclusion.
Her deceased brother's voice in her mind, her murdered twin, adds something very unusual to this series.
Read my full review here
A Twisted Vengeance by Candace Robb
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Hardcover; 400 Pages
Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book Two
"Lovers of Shakespeare’s Richard II will find Robb’s intricate sequel to 2016’s The Service of the Dead a particular treat, as it charts the course of Richard’s downfall and his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke’s rise through the fears and uncertainties of the residents of the city of York in July 1399. These anxieties are worsened by a series of strange deaths connected to the extended family of Kate Clifford, a fierce young widow struggling to cope with not only her own household of jostling servants and the recently arrived illegitimate children of her late husband but also the return of her quarrelsome mother, Eleanor, from Strasbourg with religious women in tow. The character of Clifford is compelling and finely drawn, and for those readers who are patient enough to manage an unusually large number of secondary characters, the answers to a series of mysteries, starting with the reason for an intruder’s attack on a beguine (or poor sister) in the middle of the night, are highly satisfying." - Publisher's Weekley, STARRED REVIEW
About the AuthorCandace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer.
Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.
Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published historical novels about two fascinating women she encountered while researching the Owen Archer mysteries, Alice Perrers (THE KING’S MISTRESS) and Joan of Kent (A TRIPLE KNOT).
Candace was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she and her husband love for its combination of natural beauty and culture. Candace enjoys walking, hiking, and gardening, and practices yoga and vipassana meditation. She travels frequently to Great Britain.
For more information, please visit Candace Robb's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.