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The Fatal Fashione: An Elizabeth I Mystery Mass Market Paperback – Nov 28 2006


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; First Edition edition (Nov. 28 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312941935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312941932
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.2 x 17 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #726,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Shortly after Elizabeth I addresses a deputation from Parliament to end once and for all the issue of a royal marriage in Harper's entertaining eighth historical (after 2005's The Fyre Mirror), the queen's herb mistress reports the discovery of the body of her majesty's favorite starcher—in a vat of starch. (The fashion for large, stiff ruffs has made starch a precious commodity.) When the daughter of the queen's financial adviser is reported missing and later found in shock, Elizabeth goes undercover into the streets of London to seek answers. As the number of murder victims grows along with the list of suspects, Elizabeth has to wonder if she herself will become the killer's next target. As ever, Harper skillfully interweaves fact and fiction, presenting a heroine who is as intelligent and gutsy a crime solver as she was a real-life monarch. Readers will never again look at pictures of the Virgin Queen in her elaborate ruffs in quite the same way. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This is the eighth volume in Harper's popular series of mystery novels featuring Queen Elizabeth I of England as--yes--a sleuth investigating mayhem and murder in her beloved kingdom. The new fashion trend of heavily starched ruffs, those fancy, even outlandish (to modern eyes) collars that European men and women are seen wearing in paintings of days long ago, has set off keen competition among starching "houses" for the queen's patronage. Competition to the point of motivating murder, that is. As Her Majesty is wont to do (at least as Harper has her do, in these delightful novels), as if she didn't have enough on her plate with running the ship of state in particularly perilous times, she embroils herself in the crime's solution. And as always in these novels, the pattern of murder at hand seems to be leading in its inevitable conclusion to the murder of the queen herself. Historical-mystery lovers, and Harper's fans in particular, should rejoice at this latest installment. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 14 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
History AND a mystery -- terrific! March 23 2006
By Amy Sorter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Being very picky about the mysteries I read, but liking anything to do with Tudor England, I wasn't sure what to think when I picked up "Fatal Fashione." The idea about Elizabeth I of England as a solver of crimes and mysteries was a little out of the box as far as I was concerned, but I decided to give it a try.

I'm very glad I invested both the time and the money in this one. In addition to outlining the atmosphere of Elizabethan England through a lot of great description that moves along, Harper provides readers with a great "whodunit," to the point that no one is sure who killed the starcher and laundress until very near the end. And like a good "whodunit," she makes the motive work.

Her characterizations are terrific as well -- Harper brings Elizabeth I across as a feisty, "never say die," compassionate figure, one is deserving of the crown of England and the loyalty of her subjects.

The only problem I had with this book is that it strained my imagination to think that a Queen with the responsibilities of Elizabeth I had time to run around and solve mysteries while the country ran itself (this was the time before English royalty was largely ceremonial -- kings and queens actually made life and death decisions about their subjects).

Yet Harper manages to make it work.

In short, Harper does what authors are supposed to do -- to take care of their readers by introducing likeable characters.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy and read her other books.

Amy Wolff Sorter, author, Servant of the Gods
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent well! Dec 11 2007
By Bookphile - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Once again, Harper has done it. She really excels at taking Queen Elizabeth I and making her flesh and blood. I've always enjoyed how she portrays the queen as strong-willed and yet vulnerable and how she doesn't try to gloss over the queen's rough edges. She has taken something of a one-dimensional historical figure and made her flesh and blood. I've long admired Elizabeth I and I'm very glad to see an author doing her such justice in portraying her as the complex human being she must have been.

As in the previous novels in the series, the peace of Elizabeth's kingdom is threatened by murder most foul. Harper does a nice job of juxtaposing the murder mystery with Elizabeth's fears of a northern uprising and the queen's constant worries over exactly how much of a threat Mary, Queen of Scots posed. I think this nicely shows how Elizabeth was concerned not only with the political in that she frets about the well-being of her country as a whole but also the personal in that she takes such an interest in her subjects.

Harper's other strength are her secondary characters. Those who have read the series have likely come to feel like Meg, Jenks, and Ned are friends and it is always welcome to read about the characters triumphs and to worry about their misfortunes. I felt the same sense of urgency Elizabeth felt when one of her favorites was placed in a position of grave danger.

As for the mystery itself, it is well-plotted and it is always intriguing to see how Harper uses period details to create innovative methods of executing a crime. This book's victim meets her end in the very vat in which she starches the highly fashionable ruffs that are helping her to earn her fortune. This is characteristic of Harper's writing in that the ends that the unfortunate victims meet provide a peek into the clever and diabolical minds of their killers.

Also admirable is the deft way in which Harper weaves the romances of secondary characters skillfully into the narrative to serve as emphasis of the lonely position that Elizabeth has chosen for herself. I've certainly always understood that Elizabeth's defiance when it came to the subject of marriage was certainly a political risk but it was Harper who made me begin to think of what a personal risk it must have been.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Can't wait for the next installment May 13 2006
By Maren Degraff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My taste in ficton is mostly for female detectives and non for non-ficton Elizabeth I, her life and times... here is the best of both worlds -- this is the eighth in the series, one for each of the first eight years of Elizabeth's reign... Harper weaves known historical facts into her books were Elizabeth is the investigator, Queen and champion for justice and honor... Harper has creatively answered questions of Elizabeth's reign and her fictional filling in the blanks reads so well that right now I'm not sure what is fact and what is ficton... My interest in the everyday lives of Londoner's is always rewarded... I'm not a scholar and Harper's historical ficton has inspired me to read more 'serious' books about the period... although I must admit a warm cozy feeling when a new edition in this series comes out and I curl up on the couch and join the Privy Council Gang on their journey... my only disappointment is that I will have to wait until 2007 for the next book... Brava!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Fatal Fashione: An Elizabeth I Mystery March 14 2006
By J. Gustavson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an avid reader of both mystery and British history books I found this book to be an enjoyable and quick read. My taste in mystery novels runs from the LA Noir of James Ellroy, to the "Cozy" mystery novels of P.D. James and Elizabeth George. I also enjoy reading the History of Britian and historical novels. The combination of history and mystery was delightful. This book is the last in a series by Karen Harper, but I found that this book can stand on its own, without having read the other books. I will definitley read more Elizabeth I Mysteries while waiting for new books written by my favorite authors.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fashioneably Entertaining Feb. 2 2007
By Mary M. McCue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Karen Harper, in her Queen Elizabeth series, expertly mixes history and her-story to entertain, delight -- and subtly highlight the very real and serious issues that faced the long-reigning English monarch. Issues within and without the kingdom beset her during her long reign; her adroit handling gave England a historic period of peace and prosperity. As towering a figure as Elizabeth is, I find myself drawn even more to the subcharacters who people each book. They're appealing, real and become friends, to care about and cheer for. I look forward to the next book in the series.


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