Cover image for The tidal poole : an Elizabeth I mystery
The tidal poole : an Elizabeth I mystery
Harper, Karen (Karen S.)
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
290 pages : genealogical table, map ; 22 cm
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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January 13, 1559, London. On the eve of the celebrations heralding her coronation as Queen of England, twenty-five-year-old Elizabeth Tudor kneels alone, inside the haunted walls of the Tower of London. Here, beneath the cold paving stones of the Tower's chapel, lie the bones of her mother, Anne Boleyn, and of otbhers, long lost in the deadly conspiracies surrounding the crown. Now the power will be Elizabeth's, to hold or to lose. Solitary, rapt, she dedicates herself to the memory of her mother and to the future of England. Then, in the shadows behind her, something stirs... Karen Harper's enthralling Elizabeth I mystery series, which debuted to widespread critical and popular acclaim with The Poyson Garden, moves into high gear with The Tidal Poole, as Bess Tudor comes into her own as Queen of England. The Tidal Poole opens as Elizabeth's triumphant procession to Westminster Palace is marred by the brutal murder of a high-born, high-living lady of the court. Abetted by her irresistible band of loyal retainers, the young queen is soon spearheading a sub rosa investigation of the crime--an investigation that leads inexorably to a sinister plot against Elizabeth herself. Populated with fascinating historical figures, rich in the details of a vibrant, violent era, The Tidal Poole is an intoxicating Elizabethan brew of high drama and deadly intrigue played out as the fate of a realm hangs in the balance. Climaxing in a midnight voyage through the murderous tidal pools swirling under London Bridge and highlighting a magnificent queen in the first full flush of her power, it is essential reading for lovers of romantic mystery, history, and regal adventure.

Author Notes

Karen Harper is also the author of a number of contemporary suspense & historical novels. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, & Naples, Florida.

(Publisher Provided)

Karen Harper was born on April 6, 1945 in Toledo, Ohio. She attended Ohio University in Athens and earned her undergraduate degree. She went on to Ohio State University in Columbus for her graduate degree. She landed a teaching position in English at Ohio State University. She soon began writing historical and contemporary fiction. Her first book, Sweet Passion's Pain, was published in 1984. It was later published as The First Princess of Wales in 2006. She has written several series including: The Maplecreek Series, The Home Valley Series, The Queen Elizabeth I Series and Cold Creek Series. Her titles often make the New York Times and USA Today Bestsellers List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

During her coronation procession into the city of London, Elizabeth I finds herself in the midst of crime and political intrigue. The murders of a lady of the court and another victim may be part of a plot to overthrow her government. This mystery full of scheming Tudors, Seymours, and Dudleys is a page-turner based on historical sources. Readers who enjoyed The Poyson Garden [BKL D 15 98] will welcome the second appearance of Elizabeth I and her colorful supporters, both noble and common. Their investigation reveals treachery in high places, leading to an action-packed denouement and the promise of further regal adventures. This well-researched volume, complete with maps and genealogical charts, puts readers in the midst of sixteenth-century England. They will enjoy the trip immensely. --Barbara Bibel

Publisher's Weekly Review

Feisty young Bess tackles her second investigation with a single-minded thoroughness and toughness that would suit any gumshoe. Indeed, those qualities served Bess throughout her long reign, for she is none other than Bess Tudor, aka Queen Elizabeth I, the Tudor descendant destined to govern unruly England for 45 years. On the eve of her tortuous ascension to the throne, Bess looks forward to the conclusion of her stay at the Tower of London (where monarchs traditionally spend the week before their coronation) and the opportunity to end the plotting and infighting that have bedeviled the country since her father's death. Instead, the murder of a young woman along Bess's triumphal procession to Westminster Abbey casts suspicion on several trusted friends and causes her to undertake her own investigation, aided by a strange but effective cast of helpers. A nice mix of historical and fictional characters, deft twists and a plucky, engaging young heroine enhance this welcome sequel to The Poyson Garden. Harper's 16th-century England may not rival the beautifully woven tapestries of Ellis Peters or match the elegant atmospherics of Anne Perry, but her version of Elizabeth's England seethes with enough jealousies, feuds and plotters to furnish many more entertaining adventures. Author tour. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In London but two months, the newly crowned Elizabeth I and her "Privy Plot Council" of four (groom, nurse, actor/fool, herbalist) begin investigating the murder/rape of the promiscuous sister of Isabella Harrington, a longtime friend and supporter of the queen. Mutual enemies slanderously implicate the Harringtons' foster son, whose real father (a Seymour) was beheaded for treason. Fans of Elizabethan historical mysteries will find ample sustenance here: a fiercely independent young queen, a loyal but feisty band of assistants, a plethora of historical characters, and an all-encompassing knowledge of the times. An excellent sequel to The Poyson Garden (LJ 2/1/99). [A Mystery Guild featured alternate.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



THE MAIN THOROUGHFARE OF LONDON WAS AWASH with banners, pennants, and brocade bunting on the new queen's recognition day. Despite the cold, in a canopied, open litter borne by white mules, Elizabeth Tudor rode the adulation of her people through the swirls of their hurrahs. Down Fleet Street to where crowds poured into the Strand, she glittered in her gown and mantle of cloth of gold. Like a great tide came her red-coated gentlemen pensioners with ceremonial battle-axes, then squires, footmen, and men mounted on a thousand prancing horses. Behind her rode Robert Dudley, her handsome Master of the Horse, mounted on a charger and leading her unmounted horse, which was covered with golden cloth. The members of her Privy Council, her governors, and her lieutenants seemed swept along in her broad wake. The royal progress took all day, for the queen bade her cavalcade halt when someone in the crowd tendered an herbal nosegay or held up a baby. At certain sites proud citizens enacted play scenes, presented pageants and recitations, or sang madrigals. Despite the constant pealing of church bells, the Queen's Majesty stood to make impromptu speeches. The crowd would hush to hear, then blast the wintry air with roars louder than the river churning under London Bridge. "Why did you bring me here, Meg?" With all the noise Ned Topside had to put his mouth to Margaret Milligrew's ear so she could hear him. His warm breath made her shiver. Looking for a good place to see their queen pass by for a third time, they had spent an hour elbowing their way ahead through crowds along the back entrances to the grand houses along the Strand. Part of Elizabeth's household, Meg and Ned had already seen her as she departed the Tower and again as she went by on Fleet Street. "Don't exactly know why here," Meg shouted back. "But it seems a fine spot with that triumphal arch they built. She'll have to halt, we'll catch her eye, and she'll know we're with her all the way." She saw Ned's green eyes narrow when he caught her darting glances overhead at a hanging apothecary sign of a painted Turk's head with a gilded pill on his extended tongue. She wasn't sure why that sign intrigued her so, but it did. She liked this area. Several people had smiled and greeted her, though most kept their eyes on the street. "That apothecary's not going to be open today," Ned chided, shoving her along with a hand on her back, "so just forget dragging me in to see what herbs they sell." He took her elbow and pulled her along. "Since you've got me this far, we need to find a tree or windowsill to see in this stew of people. Ah, but what a fine crowd this would make for an audience if our queen would but let me make a speech and recite a scene along the way today." Meg could barely hear his words when huzzahs swelled again. As ever, she felt Ned's mere touch, even an angry one, clear down in the pit of her belly. Of course, it could be caused by her melancholy since they all had to live in London now. Meg both mistrusted the place and felt its pull--just like with Ned Topside. "Can't see someone called Queen's Fool putting on such airs," she scolded. "That's the pot calling the kettle black. Your face lit like a yuletide candle when Her Grace said you are to have a stipend for being Strewing Herb Mistress of the Privy Chamber. Gads, you'd think she'd given you Cecil's lofty title." "At least," she shouted back, "just like in the country, we're all still her Privy Plot Council. Her Grace promised." Ned rolled his eyes. "You think a queen will have the time or cause to unravel plots or murder schemes like the one that almost got us poisoned? Besides, doesn't all this show she'll have smooth sailing?" he asked with a gesture so broad he knocked a blue-coated apprentice on the back of the head. The burly lad turned, a grin on his broad face but fists up, evidently spoiling for a good fight. "Oh it's you, mistress," he blurted when he saw Meg. "Oh, aye, it's her all right," Ned said, playing along. "Come on, then," he ordered, yanking her after him, this time by the wrist, through the press of people. "I guess I've got to save you from that stale come-hither line 'Haven't we met before, my fine lady?'" Suddenly Meg decided, as Her Grace always put it, to show her mettle. She jerked free from Ned's grasp and stood erect with her chin thrust out when he rounded on her again. "Just stick with me, my man, and I'll get us a good place up front to see. Follow me, if you please. "Stand aside, clear the way for the Lord Banbury," she called out in her best imitation of Elizabeth's crisp, clear, ringing voice, with tone and enunciation Ned had taught her. "You there, churl, Lord Banbury's coming through." Gaping, people parted for them as if they had the plague. "Who in the deuce is Lord Banbury?" Ned asked out of the side of his mouth when they were finally settled on the inner edge of the crowd. They had a prime place just down from Lord Arundel's three-storied gatehouse, which overlooked the street, facing the Ring and Crown Tavern across from it. "Lord Banbury? Don't have a notion," Meg admitted. "Like you in a pinch, I made him up." "Look, there's the first of her parade coming!" Ned cried, and threw an arm around Meg's shoulders. She leaned lightly against him, not daring more, because she still could not remember who she really was. But if she could, she'd probably still want Edward Thompson, alias the queen's new fool and principal player, Ned Topside. Excerpted from The Tidal Poole: An Elizabeth I Mystery by Karen Harper All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.