Cover image for Face down beneath the Eleanor Cross
Face down beneath the Eleanor Cross
Emerson, Kathy Lynn.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000.
Physical Description:
280 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Susanna, Lady Appleton, has been mourning the supposed death of her husband Robert. Yet a coded message instructs Susanna to meet him in a London alehouse. When he does not appear, and a disguised Robert turns up dead beneath the Eleanor Cross, Lady Appleton is accused of the crime--and will hang unless she finds the true killer.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The strong-minded and strong-willed heroine of Emerson's Elizabethan mystery series, Susanna, Lady Appleton, does not miss her wayward husband, Robert, lost and presumed dead. When she gets a message from him in cipher, though, she doesn't hesitate to meet him, only to find him, poisoned and dying for real, beneath London's Eleanor Cross at Charing and King. When Susanna is accused of Robert's murder, she undertakes a dangerous winter journey across England, meeting with each of her husband's mistresses in the hope of ferreting out the truth. Susanna saves herself and exposes the villain only at the last moment in a wild courtroom finale. Emerson grows more confident in each of these stories, enriching them with details of daily life, the miseries of travel, the uses of herbs, and the horrors of the English penal and justice systems as they existed in 1565. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Emerson has the place names and customs right in this Elizabethan whodunnit set in 1565, but too often her lords and ladies and various commoners, despite the occasional archaism ("certes," "mayhap"), sound and act like stock characters in a modern crime melodrama. Somebody lures Lady Susanna Appleton (returning from Face Down Among the Winchester Geese) to a shady London tavern for a rendezvous with her estranged husband, Sir Robert Appleton. When Sir Robert doesn't appear, Susanna leaves. Shortly thereafter he falls dead at her feet, beneath one of London's landmarks, the Eleanor Cross. Well known as an herbalist and healer, Susanna is arrested for his murder, since witnesses claim to have seen her poison his food at the tavern earlier that day. That Eleanor has no motive is, oddly, never an issue. (This kind and educated woman had no illusions about Sir Robert's low character during her arranged marriage.) After a spell in Newgate prison, Susanna is released and sets out to find the real killer before she's tried and, if convicted, burned at the stake. The prime suspects are Sir Robert's several mistresses, whom Eleanor spends the next few months visiting throughout England. Everyone assembles back in London for her trial, where in improbable, Perry Mason fashion Susanna provokes her husband's murderer into making what amounts to a confession in front of judge and jury. While the killer's identity is far from predictable, sophisticated readers won't much care about it, as the author fails to give her characters sufficient depth against the historical backdrop. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Susanna, Lady Appleton (Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie), grieves over the supposed death of her husband but then receives a message to meet him. When he fails to appear and is then found dead, Susanna stands accused of his murder. For series followers and fans of Elizabethan mysteries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.