Death at St. Vedast : Book 3
Bianca and John are delighted to share in the glad fortune of their friend, Boisvert, the silversmith, who is to wed Odile, the wealthy widow of a goldsmith. But a pall is cast over the upcoming nuptials when the body of a pregnant woman is found beneath the bell tower of St. Vedast, the very church where the betrothed are to be married.
Tragedy strikes again at the couple's reception, when Odile suddenly drops dead in the middle of her wedding feast. The constable suspects Boisvert poisoned his new bride for her money, but there's not a trace of poison in her food or wine. Could the two deaths be connected?
To prove Boisvert's innocence, Bianca will need to employ her knowledge of alchemy--for if she can determine how the bride was killed, she may find the person responsible for her murder--before another victim is added to the death toll.
"Something different in the historical mystery genre"
-In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel
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"beautifully rendered...the pacing is perfect"
-Reviewing the Evidence
..."the series is inventive and intriguing."
-My interdimensional Chaos
"The Bianca Goddard series provides a refreshing look at Tudor England."
The road began to widen slightly and they started up a steep incline. Nearing the top, the road split and they strained for a better look at the cairn on a jutting outcrop above them. Something perched on top of the pile of
"What is it?" asked Bianca, trying to see.
John scrambled up the jagged ledge, sending down a shower of rocks. "Here's our angel," he said, holding up a donkey skull then pointing it to face him. "Strange wit, farmers."
Bianca found a boulder and sat down to rest waiting for him to climb down. She blew in her hands warming them against the chill. As the moon rose, it took with it the warmth of day. The cold was a damp, seeping one.
She listened for John expecting him to rejoin her, then realized he'd become suddenly quiet. Alarmed, she stood and stepped away from the boulder. She was about to call to him when something hit her head. The donkey skull bounced into the road and she went to pick it up when she heard it, too. Men talking.
Bianca looked up at John waving her away. She dove into the woods and flattened herself against the ground.
Two carls, country men, but perhaps of more rascally intent, ambled into view. They stopped at the fork, creeped around the precipice, clinging to its stony face and took a gander up the road intersecting with the one they had just traveled. Listening and hearing nothing they stepped back into the road.
"I hear no hooves or glupping mud of men," said one.
"Aye that," said the other. "I thought I heard voices."
"Just the antics of your craven mind, Horatio." He uncorked a flagon and pulled long on it.
Horatio took the opportunity to water a patch of earth within spitting distance of Bianca. She could see the steam rise and flattened herself as much as she was able, imagining herself part of the ground.
"Ho, what is this?" The man touched his toe to the skull then picked it up. "This is not where you belong," he said to the cranium. He leaned back and looked up at the cairn on the precipice. "It must have fallen." He sighed. "Alas, poor donkey! I knew him, Horatio. An ass of infinite vigor, of most excellent hocks. He hath born me on his back a thousand times. And now how abhorred my imagination is. My gorge rises at it." He turned the skull to face his companion. "Here hung those lips, that I have kissed I know not how oft."
Horatio cringed. "It is a boast better whispered."
"We should set him on his perch. He should not be stamped upon and buried in mud."
"It is too dark to climb, you doddypoll. Set it at the base, its purpose will be seen and understood."
The man sized up the climb as his friend spoke.
"See that night has fallen? It is cold and your dead donkey knows no suffering. Cuds me, it knows nothing of my numb feet or the abuse I suffer traveling with you. Put your silly skull there and let us be gone. We have far to travel."
Reluctantly, the ass kisser laid the skull at the foot of the crags and patted its head.
The two slogged on, muttering to each other and cursing.