A Time For the Death of a King is historical who-done-it set in the 16th century. It was written by Paul Doherty who also writes book under Paul Harding, P. C. Doherty, Ann Dukthas, Michael Clynes, Anna Apostolou, C. L. Grace and Vanessa Alexander. He is a well respected historian from Britain who is unbelievably prolific. His books are short, but well researched and for me just a nice reading palate cleanser between larger, denser pieces of literature.
In this book our hero Nicholas Segalla, a Jesuit and agent for Archbishop Beaton of France, is dispatched to Scotland to warn Mary Queen of Scots of a plot against herself and husband Lord Darnley. He arrives to find Mary nursing Darnley back to health at the now famous Kirk O'Field. He believes his job is done, doing what he can to put Mary and her allies on guard, but within hours of Segalla's arrival Kirk O'Field is blown up. "Not a stone was left on top of another stone." Lord Darnley was not found in the wreckage, but was discovered in the orchard 40 feet away from the building site. Darnley was dressed in his night clothes, dead without a mark on him, along side the body of his page (and bed warmer)also dressed in his night clothes without a mark of violence upon him either. There was a chair, a dagger, a candle and a net found with the bodies. This to say the least was a head scratcher in the 16th century and has continued to be a puzzling historical mystery to the present day. Mary Queen of Scots and her allies are implicated in the murder, but no evidence was ever discovered in the 16th century to explain what happened that night. Sir Francis Walsingham, grand spy master for Elizabeth I of England had spies everywhere and had dispatched a man named the Raven Master to Scotland. Segalla soon finds himself knee deep in the intrigue surrounding the death of Darnley and at the same time trying to discover the identity of the Raven Master.
The book is a bit melodramatic and yet I was turning pages trying to anticipate the author's explanation for a 500+ old mystery. Doherty ends up peaking my interest and now I will be reading Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir very soon because I just have to know more.