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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Review:

‘Fidelis Morgan’s tale of love and greed and alchemy in 1699 is a heady compound of wit, wisdom and wildness. It’s an unsentimental warts-and-all portrait that reeks of authenticity, written with a brio that reflects the age’
Val McDermid

‘Hilarious 17th century romp, which combines an authentic slice of history with a tantalising storyline. An authority on the era, Morgan has created an inventive book which wears its learning lightly. Colourful turns of phrase and witty descriptions – like a bawdy P.G. Wodehouse – leave you with a keen sense of the period’ Daily Mail

‘A lusty, audacious historical romp …all the bawdiness of London at the turn of the 18th century is brought to life’ Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian

‘Thigh-slapping, exclamatory stuff … loudly, lustily, enthusiastically done’ Literary Review

‘The perfect autumn read’ Marie Claire

From the Back Cover:

London 1700. Those intrepid and impecunious heroines the Countess Ashby de la Zouche and her maidservant Alpiew are once more scavenging for scandal to entertain the readers of that scurrilous rang, the 'London Trumpet'. With the bailiffs as ever in hot pursuit, the Countess and Alpiew are reduced to seeking refuge in a philosophical lecture at the Drury Lane Playhouse. But their expectations of a dull evening are confounded when one of the players staggers on to the stage, her hands dripping with blood. A doyenne has been decapitated under their very noses.

The unlikely sleuths find themselves with an abundance of suspects: players, phanatiques, punks in pink ribbons, a Punch and Judy man – not to mention a painter with a silver proboscis. Determined to leave not stone unturned, they pursue their quarry from the Tower of London to Bedlam, with a brief detour to the wilds of Wapping. Along the way they uncover (with a little help from Pepys) a web of intrigue and corruption that extends to the highest echelons of society and the judiciary.

Praise for 'Unnatural Fire'

'Hilarious 17th Century romp, which combines an authentic slice of history with a tantalizing storyline… Colourful turns of phrase and witty descriptions – like a bawdy P. G. Woodhouse – leave you with a keen sense of period. This is a frolicking good read.'
DAILY MAIL

'A lusty, audacious historical romp – all the bawdiness of London at the turn of the 18th century is brought to life.'
GUARDIAN

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