Yet another threatening plot for Ben Button, apprentice actor in Lord Bonner’s company, to solve in this third volume of ‘Elizabethan Mysteries’. Ben and Matt rescue a young thief from the policeman Plugg, and Ben catches the lad again redhanded with silver goblets he has stolen, but ‘he’ turns out to be a girl, Jane. John Symes, Ben’s mentor, takes the girl in despite his misgivings which are realised when Jane disappears. The company are booked to appear at the celebrations to mark the engagement of Sir Miles Langham, but Ben already knows that Jane is bent on revenge as she considers the nobleman responsible for her father’s death. Ben rescues Sir Miles from Jane’s attempt to stab him but when Jane gives him a piece of paper which could prove the nobleman has been selling cannon to the Spaniards he feels he has to act. This rather implausible plot line carries the reader along with many details of Elizabethan life giving authenticity to the story.
The second novel in this series, Traitor, was a very good story and this new tale does not quite match it, but it is nevertheless an exciting read which will also give the reader some understanding of Tudor customs and a taste of the history, particularly the threat from Spain. The title and the cover are a bit over the top and do not really reflect the plot, but there is a map of Elizabethan London.