The Giordano Bruno historical mystery series by S.J. Parris is one of my favorite, and part five, Conspiracy, does not disappoint.
Set in Paris in the fall of 1585, it sees Bruno return to Paris after his latest adventure helping quash a plot against Queen Elizabeth in London. The philosopher is in search of a quiet life and a teaching position, but the French capital is a hotbed of the struggle between Catholics and Protestants. Fiery sermons by the Guise family-backed priests threaten to push the already stirred-up populace into a full-on revolt against King Henri.
One of such priests is an old rival of Bruno’s, Father Paul Lefevre, with whom Bruno renews acquaintance. But the priest is murdered shortly after their meeting, and the philosopher is drafted by the king to help find the culprit. Henri is convinced that the Guises had Lefevre killed in order to pin the crime on him and turn his subjects against him. The investigation begins on the assumption that the priest has fallen victim to the political strife, but when one of Queen Catherine de Medici’s famed female spies is found dead during a holiday ball, Bruno is forced to reevaluate his views.
More and more, the clues begin to point to the household of the two queens – the imperious mother and the long-suffering wife of King Henri, and Bruno begins to suspect that the motive is not the Guise-Valois rivalry, but something far more personal. Yet it, too, poses a grave danger to the royal house of France.
Conspiracy is an atmospheric thriller, tightly plotted and well-researched, and sure to satisfy many fans of historical mysteries.
If you like historical mysteries, check out Silent Water, a Jagiellon Mystery Book 1, set at the 16th century royal court in Cracow. It’s available in ebook and paperback on Amazon and FREE to read on Kindle Unlimited.