The Lady Flirts with Death (Simon & Elizabeth Mystery)
by Peg Herring
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432827120
Date: 15 May 2013
The Lady Flirts with Death is Peg Herring's third Simon and Elizabeth Mystery. Simon, an apothecary, worries over the fate of Elizabeth, now imprisoned in the Tower of London. When he encounters an old friend, Peto the Pope, a notorious criminal imprisoned for murder, he is convinced of the man's innocence and is determined to help him. Meanwhile, as he works on a plan to help Elizabeth, he also investigates the murder of which Peto is accused, placing himself and his wife in danger.
Elizabeth plays a small role, mainly providing the reason Simon visits the Tower of London and learns of the capture of a friend charged with murder. He also manages to communicate with Lord Essex about Elizabeth and hatches a plot to urge Prince Philip to ask Queen Mary to free Elizabeth.
Peto's main concern is his companion Frances. He has made plans for her to flee, but she has disappeared. She has not gone to the friend Peto asked to hide her.
About the same time, Hannah, Simon's wife, discovers a pregnant young woman hiding in their dovecote. The young woman has been stealing food from the kitchen. Hannah cares for her and delivers the child, a beautiful girl. Hannah falls in love with the child, but the mother shows little interest.
Simon's efforts to see Elizabeth bring him and his deception to the prison authorities. Fortunately, they seek a friar and Simon the Apothecary. However, he makes one visit too many and is forced to flee from the Tower.
Eventually, the identity of the pregnant woman is discovered. Her single objective leads Helena, Simon's wife and the new babe into mortal danger.
The novel is rich in period detail. This Peg Herring's third Simon and Elizabeth Mystery. Others have explored similar settings including Karen Harper's excellent mystery series featuring Elizabeth I and others about Elizabeth Tudor, wife of Henry VII.