Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Murder by Any Name by Suzanne M. Wolfe

A Murder By Any Name by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Crooked Lane Books
Hardcover & eBook; 326 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

When a brutal murder threatens the sanctity of the Elizabethan court, it’s up to a hot-tempered spy to save the day.

The court of Elizabeth I is no stranger to plotting and intrigue, but the royal retinue is thrown into chaos when the Queen’s youngest and sweetest lady-in-waiting is murdered, her body left on the high altar of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall Palace. Solving the murder will require the cunning and savvy possessed by only one man. Enter Nicholas Holt, younger brother of the Earl of Blackwell—spy, rake, and owner of the infamous Black Sheep tavern in the seedy district of Bankside. Nick quickly learns that working for the Queen is a mixed blessing. Elizabeth—salty-tongued, vain, and fiercely intelligent—can, with a glance, either reward Nick with a purse of gold or have his head forcibly removed.

When a second lady-in-waiting is slain at Whitehall, the court once again reels with shock and dismay. On the trail of a diabolical killer, Nick and his faithful sidekick—an enormous Irish Wolfhound named Hector—are treading on treacherous ground, and only the killer’s head on a platter can keep them in the Queen’s good graces.

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Excerpt 3:
“Can you heat some water, Mouse?” the man said. The girl nodded, her face hidden by a curtain of black hair. Under a hastily thrown on cloak, Nick glimpsed a linen nightgown. She had been sleeping but her movements were calm and precise as if her husband brought back bleeding strangers every night of the week. “And I’ll need a needle and thread.” Then Eli folded a square of clean linen into a thick pad and, placing it in Nick’s hand, said: “I suggest you press this as hard as you can against your neck if you don’t want to bleed to death all over my sister’s nice clean floor.”
Nick’s heart did a little flip when he realized the girl was not Eli’s wife, then gave a giant lurch when he caught sight of her face as she carried a bowl of steaming water to the table. She looked just like Eli—dark eyes below thick brows, small straight nose, jutting cheekbones, wide mouth. The only difference he could see was her hair, as dark as her brother’s but falling in waves over her shoulders down to her waist. He knew there were other, more interesting, differences, but these were hidden by a billowing dark-colored cloak she must have hastily slung round her shoulders when Eli awakened her and which she now held protectively about her body. As if resentful of his astonished gaze, she gathered up her mass of hair in both hands, twisted it into a knot at the back of her neck and secured it with a quill pen she picked up from the table. He caught a glimpse of the lace on the plunging neckline of her gown before she wrapped the cloak around herself again.
“We’re twins,” she explained, unnecessarily.
“I can see that,” Nick replied, in a voice that sounded surprisingly croaky. He saw again the small twin mounds pushing out the front of her shift.
The girl scowled. Nick thought this made her look even more beautiful. Tendrils of hair had escaped her makeshift knot and were wafting against her smooth pale cheeks as she moved around the table setting out clean napkins, a jar of some ointment and a needle and thread which she first dunked in boiling water with tongs and then set carefully on a clean strip of linen. A strand had caught in the corner of her mouth, and he longed to lift it away with his finger and hook it over her ear.
“He’s obviously delirious,” the girl said, addressing her brother. “Not enough blood to the brain. Perhaps we should purge him, relieve the pressure on his…extremities.” Nick blanched as she lifted a razor from the table and smiled sweetly.
Calmly Eli rolled up his sleeves and began to wash his hands. “My sister has a, shall we say,narcoticeffect on men,” he said conversationally. “Which is a good thing as what I’m about to do is going to hurt like the dickens. But I should watch it if I were you. She’s handles a mean scalpel.”
Nick remembered feeling a little resentful at this apparent lack of sympathy for his agony, then marveled at the sureness and rapidity with which Eli sewed up the wound and stanched the bleeding. He was right: it did hurt. A lot. But Nick clamped his lips firmly together and did not utter a sound, hoping the girl would notice his bravery. The rest of the night he spent sitting bolt upright before the fire and when he asked if he could lie down, the girl shook her head. 
“A drink?”
She clapped a beaker of water down by his elbow.
“I was thinking more of wine.”
She snorted. “Call if the wound reopens,” she said, a little callously Nick thought, given his ordeal. Then she and Eli took themselves off up the ladder to bed. Though dizzy with blood loss, something that would soon pass the girl informed him in the morning, Nick was quite certain he owed them his life. He returned to the house a few days later with a small bag of gold. Eli refused payment, but the girl, who he learned was named Rivkah, took the purse from him.
“My brother believes in a Utopia where medicine is free to all. I, however, know that Utopia means No Place and that even doctors must eat.” He noticed her use of the plural as she slipped the purse down the front of her bodice. She didn’t offer him a drink then either.

Praise for A Murder By Any Name

“Captivating… Fans of Fiona Buckley’s Ursula Blanchard and Kathy Lynn Emerson’s Rosamond Jaffrey will be delighted to add Wolfe to their reading lists.” ―Booklist

“[A] promising series launch… Fans of Elizabethan historicals will be satisfied.” ―Publishers Weekly

“An excellent series kickoff by Wolfe that cleverly highlights both the mystery and the many ills of Elizabethan times.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“In vivid passages, Suzanne Wolfe’s novel brings to the reader the light and dark of Elizabethan England, its squalor and splendor, filth and riches, intrigues and delights.” ―NY Journal of Books

“A deeply atmospheric and richly textured Elizabethan mystery... I was captivated by Nicholas and Hector as they navigated court treachery and the dark recesses of the lower classes in this compelling Elizabethan mystery.” ―Shelley Freydont, New York Times bestselling author

"Wolfe’s descriptions are unparalleled, immersing the reader in the time period as they join her wily protagonist on his quest to catch a cold-hearted killer.” ―Anna Lee Huber, bestselling author of the Lady Darby Mysteries

"I stayed up reading much too late to finish this book! Wonderful Elizabethan atmosphere, well-drawn and unusual characters, action and intrigue and excitement―I felt like I was in the 1570s" ―Amanda Carmack, award-winning author of the Elizabethan mysteries

“Bewitching! Suzanne Wolfe opens the door to Elizabethan life through her masterful creation of the sympathetic spy, Nicholas Holt. An exciting start to a promising new historical mystery series.” ―Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award-winning author of the Mas Arai series

“A classically plotted whodunit set against the background of Elizabethan London and the court of Queen Elizabeth the First, both of them well researched and vividly realized, with a wealth of detail. One can almost smell the reek of the 16th century streets and waterways.” ―Fiona Buckley, author of the Ursula Blanchard Elizabethan mysteries

About the Author

Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and taught literature and creative writing there for nearly two decades. Wolfe is the author of three novels: A Murder by Any Name, The Confessions of X, and Unveiling.

Thirty years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families. Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington.

For more information, please visit Suzanne M. Wolfe's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 17
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 18
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, December 19
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Thursday, December 20
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.

Friday, December 21
Feature at What Is That Book About

Sunday, December 23
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Thursday, December 27
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, December 28
Review at Tar Heel Reader
Review at Amy's Booket List

Monday, December 31
Review at Tudor Enthusiast

Wednesday, January 2
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Thursday, January 3
Excerpt at T's Stuff
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, January 4
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, January 7
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, January 8
Guest Post at On the Tudor Trail

Wednesday, January 9
Review at Reading the Past

Thursday, January 10
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Friday, January 11
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, January 14
Review at Maiden of the Pages

Tuesday, January 15
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 16
Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, January 17
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at CelticLady's Reviews


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 3 hardcover copies of A Murder By Any Name! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

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– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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A Murder By Any Name

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