The Rival Queens (A Countess Ashby de la Zouche mystery)

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9780007116355: The Rival Queens (A Countess Ashby de la Zouche mystery)

The sequel to Fidelis Morgan's hugely entertaining debut, Unnatural Fire, again featuring the irrepressible Countess Ashby de la Zouche and her stupendously bosomed former maid, Alpiew, on the trail of murder and mayhem in early 18th-century London Once again Anastasia Ashby de la Zouche, Baroness Penge, Countess of Clapham, former mistress to Charles II, finds herself embroiled in the darker side of 18th century London. The Rival Queens is a tale of actresses, syphilis, juvenile delinquency, artifice, hot drinks and murder...not to mention The Passions and the doings of Samuel Pepys.

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About the Author:

Fidelis Morgan is an actor and an expert in Restoration comedy. Acclaimed for her stage plays, Pamela and Hangover Square, she also collaborated with Lynda la Plante on Channel 4's tense, psychological thriller Killer Net. She has written non-fiction studies of charismatic female figures from the 17th and 18th centuries, and contributed to the bestselling Virago anthology Wicked. In her first novel, Unnatural Fire, she combines historical interest with her lifelong passion for crime fiction.

From Publishers Weekly:

In her second bawdy, madcap adventure (after 2001's Unnatural Fire), the incomparable Anastasia, Lady Ashby de la Zouche, Countess of Clapham, Baroness Penge (and former mistress to Charles II), aided by her faithful maid, Alpiew, faces "a brace of murders, an illicit marriage ceremony, an escape of a prisoner from the Tower, bribery, corruption at the highest level, a burglary and an abduction." When she doesn't run fast enough, bailiffs temporarily deposit the Countess in a "sponging house" for debtors. At other times such blackguards as Lord Giles Rakewell and his hooligans, the Tityre-tus gang, harass her. Morgan, a British actress and expert on Restoration comedy, brings 1700 London intensely to life, from the filth-ridden Thames to teeming Covent Garden, home to pickpockets, actors and writers. The Countess and Alpiew eke out a livelihood writing gossip for the London Trumpet, as well as planting "puff," or publicity. A lot of the fun derives from walk-ons by real people, such as the actor and playwright Colley Cibber, famous in his day for "improving upon the work of a barbarous Elizabethan third-rater named Shakespeare." Living nearby is an incorrigible old lecher who gives the Countess his memoirs. She figures it may prop a table-surely no one will ever read Samuel Pepys. Restoration England will never be the same after this romp.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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