The second novel in the Justin de Quincy mystery series, Penman’s Cruel as the Grave is a terrific follow-up. In addition to his work as the Queen’s man, de Quincy helps solve the mystery of a murdered girl. What makes this work so well is Penman’s ability to weave two plots – the fabricated murder with the very real games of political intrigue played out in Queen Eleanor’s household.
With the backdrop of Queen Eleanor trying to keep her son John from usurping the throne away from his captive brother, Richard Lionheart, this book rises above the ordinary mystery and becomes a wonderful work of historical fiction, with a the bonus of a captivating mystery.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 1998