The mystery of this title is introduced in the Prologue when we are witnesses to the secret burial by Sir Thomas, of a beggar in place of another old man, who has died in an English village in 1550. But the novel begins in the present day where we meet Rob Tyler, a young man who is financing his History PhD by part-time work for Wynslade County Archives. Going through the notes of William Amory gentleman and antiquarian, he is forced to photocopy them quickly since they have been demanded by a member of the public.
Rob also earns money teaching an evening class in Family History where one of his regular students is Emily Finch, an elderly lady who keeps 40 years of research on her Finch Family History in a shopping trolley. Rob’s neighbour in his Victorian terrace house is a very different young man. An unqualified builder doing-up the house to sell for a profit, Chris has nothing in common with Rob and yet the two help each other and become involved in solving an historical mystery which takes them into the realms of danger and crime.
The subject matter of the family of Richard III and the way in which the mystery is solved using old documents and an ancient building very much appealed to me as a family historian. The added excitement of an aggressive opponent who will stop at nothing to uncover the information he wants, make this book an exciting read. Emily’s great nieces Claire and Laura also become involved but their relationship with the two young men has no chemistry and very little co-operation.
Despite solving the mystery Rob and Chris decide to keep most of their discoveries to themselves but they are rewarded in some way and the reader is the person who has learnt most about what might have happened in the early 16th century.