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Face Down Beneath the Eleanor Cross [Hardcover]

Kathy Lynn Emerson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 11 2000 Elizabethan Mysteries (Book 4)
Susanna, Lady Appleton, has been mourning the supposed death of her husband Robert. Yet a coded message instructs Susanna to meet him in a London alehouse. When he does not appear, and a disguised Robert turns up dead beneath the Eleanor Cross, Lady Appleton is accused of the crime--and will hang unless she finds the true killer.

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From Publishers Weekly

Emerson has the place names and customs right in this Elizabethan whodunnit set in 1565, but too often her lords and ladies and various commoners, despite the occasional archaism ("certes," "mayhap"), sound and act like stock characters in a modern crime melodrama. Somebody lures Lady Susanna Appleton (returning from Face Down Among the Winchester Geese) to a shady London tavern for a rendezvous with her estranged husband, Sir Robert Appleton. When Sir Robert doesn't appear, Susanna leaves. Shortly thereafter he falls dead at her feet, beneath one of London's landmarks, the Eleanor Cross. Well known as an herbalist and healer, Susanna is arrested for his murder, since witnesses claim to have seen her poison his food at the tavern earlier that day. That Eleanor has no motive is, oddly, never an issue. (This kind and educated woman had no illusions about Sir Robert's low character during her arranged marriage.) After a spell in Newgate prison, Susanna is released and sets out to find the real killer before she's tried and, if convicted, burned at the stake. The prime suspects are Sir Robert's several mistresses, whom Eleanor spends the next few months visiting throughout England. Everyone assembles back in London for her trial, where in improbable, Perry Mason fashion Susanna provokes her husband's murderer into making what amounts to a confession in front of judge and jury. While the killer's identity is far from predictable, sophisticated readers won't much care about it, as the author fails to give her characters sufficient depth against the historical backdrop. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Susanna, Lady Appleton (Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie), grieves over the supposed death of her husband but then receives a message to meet him. When he fails to appear and is then found dead, Susanna stands accused of his murder. For series followers and fans of Elizabethan mysteries.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars historical mystery lovers have to read this work Feb. 17 2000
Officially, he died from drowning. Though eighteen months have passed since that declaration, the deceased's spouse Susanna Appleton rejects the finding. She knows that she has been married to Robert for too many years for her to be so easily rid of him. Her belief is proven accurate when Roberts sends her a note demanding she bring a large amount of gold to him. Though she no longer loves her husband, Susanna feels bound to honor her marital vows. She leaves Leigh Abbey to travel to London for her rendezvous with Robert.

When Susanna arrives at their appointed locale, the innkeeper mistakes her for another woman who was kissing Robert while sitting on his lap. Susanna learns that Robert has already left the sleazy Black Jack Inn. She leaves to find lodging in a better neighborhood. While looking at the nearby Eleanor Cross, Susanna sees a man fall to his death. Based on what she observed, the noted herbalist feels someone poisoned the victim. The innkeeper testifies that Susanna was the last person seen with the dead person. The police arrest her, placing her in Newgate while awaiting trial for murder. Her good friends in high places obtain her temporary release, but Susanna plans to uncover the truth before she is burned at the stake.

Kathy Lynn Emerson has written another exciting Elizabethan mystery that stars a memorable and likable heroine. FACE DOWN BENEATH THE ELEANOR CROSS has been so meticulously researched it feels as if Ms. Emerson was there to document the tale. Reminiscent of the best of Gellis and Penman, this novel deserves awards while encouraging readers to find the previous three tales in a rewarding series.

Harriet Klausner
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Mystery - but Oh Susanna May 9 2001
By A Customer
If you read the "Face Down" series purely for the Whodunit, than this one is as strong as the others - in fact, harder for me to figure out than some of the others have been. I have to admit - I'm a bit disappointed in how Emerson resolved some relationship issues in this one. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I felt that some things were a bit rushed and seemed out of character for two of the players - but all in all, I love how Emerson continues to grow the the characters of the supporting crew to Susanna - another fun mystery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Yet! Aug. 24 2000
By A Customer
This time Susanna, Lady Appleton is suspected of the murder of her husband, and, as the author makes clear, this is hardly the best century in which to be a murder suspect. Susanna fights against time to find the real murderer and escape a gruesome death. A riveting mystery with authentic and fascinating period details, well drawn characters, and always a plucky heroine. Fans of Anne Perry should check out this series!
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5.0 out of 5 stars a message from the author Feb. 17 2000
For a look at the cover of this book and other news about the series, visit my website. I have my own domain name, so I'm easy to find. I also have a newsletter, Face Down Update, for those interested in knowing more about Lady Appleton. P.S. I couldn't submit this without rating the book. I do think it's the best in the series to date, but I hate the idea of rating anything. Much too subjective!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can you guess? Jan. 12 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lady Appleton is on trial, now, and must discover the real murderer if she is to survive the accusations. There are times I have to ask myself if Emerson was actually alive during this time period and froze herself to be brough back during our time period to write so well. (Of course not, I'm just being silly!)
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