The Queen’s Man by Sharon Kay Penman

According to the author’s note and the blurb, The Queen’s Man is Ms. Penman’s first foray into the genre of the murder mystery. Her hero/detective is Justin de Quincy, the illegitimate son of a bishop and a servant girl. Justin begins the story by confronting his father with his new-found knowledge of his parentage and then riding off in high dudgeon to make his own way in the world.

Fortune smiles on Justin by way of the misfortune of another man. Justin is an eyewitness to robbery and murder, and he is hired by the queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, to find the murderer of a goldsmith who was bringing Eleanor an important letter when he was waylaid and killed.

And so the hunt begins. Lots of medieval period details and twelfth century history work their way into the story with Justin caught between an aging but still sharp Queen Eleanor and her ambitious and unscrupulous youngest son, John.

Thoroughly enjoyable, and there are sequels also featuring Justin de Quincy, Cruel as the Grave and Dragon’s Lair.

Semicolon review of The Sunne in Splendor, historical fiction by Ms. Penman. Fifteenth century. Richard III and his older brother Edward IV.

Semicolon review of When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman. Twelfth century. King Stephen and Empress Maude.

4 thoughts on “The Queen’s Man by Sharon Kay Penman

  1. I love Sharon Kay Penman’s books usually. This was one that I didn’t think was as good as her straight historical fiction book but as I kept reading the series and the character of Justin kept growing, I think she really got a handle on it and the last couple of books in the mystery series was excellent.

  2. Another Sharon Kay Penman fan here! I’ve enjoyed this series too and am patiently – well, not so patiently – waiting for the next in the series. I understand that Ms. Penman has been ill and not writing as much. Drats!

  3. I’m a Penman fan, too! Glad you finally got around to her. I guess whateever unwellness she’s endured, she’s still been at it. There’s an October 7th release scheduled for “Devil’s Brood” (Eleanor of Aquitaine series) and mid-August for “Falls the Shadow” (Sunne and Dragons). Happy for us all!!

  4. This sounds like an interesting historical setting for a mystery. Your review is listed on Penman’s site by the way, that’s actually how I got here.

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