Monday, April 30, 2007

The Musketeer's Seamstress - Sarah D'Almeida



The Musketeer’s Seamstress
A Musketeers Mystery
Sarah D’Almeida
Berkley Prime Crime

Mystery/Historical

Following their adventures in DEATH OF A MUSKETEER, the four men, Porthos, Athos, Aramis, and young D’Artagnan, have settled into their friendship. As the story begins, Aramis, ever the ladies’ man, is enjoying an interlude with the lovely Violette. Their affair must be kept quiet for many reasons. Violette is, in reality, a duchess and close friend of Queen Anne. She lives in the royal palace, and has a husband she rarely sees. But Aramis and Violette are quite happy together, sharing not only physical intimacy, but also emotional closeness that makes them feel married in all but name. To protect her reputation, when discussing her in public, Aramis refers to her as a seamstress.

Aramis only left Violette’s bed for a moment, to answer a call of nature in the next room. When he returns, his love lies on the bed, stabbed through the heart, dead. Aramis is utterly shocked and completely devastated. He’s soon shaken out of his stupor by the sound of pounding on the locked chamber door. He realizes that he and Violette were alone, in a locked room, with the only access being a small balcony overlooking a very long drop. Who could possibly have entered the room and killed her in the few moments of his absence? Aramis makes his escape, but quickly comes under suspicion for the crime. His captain tells him to leave Paris until the matter can be settled, so it’s up to Porthos, Athos, and D’Artagnan to solve the crime. They’re hindered by the Cardinal and his men, who would like nothing better than to see one of these musketeers hang for murder.

No prior knowledge of Dumas’ masterpiece is necessary. The author takes care to set down the relationships between the four friends, society at large, and the political situation of the time. Fans of Dumas’ original stories will be thrilled with this series since author uses the same tone and style, allowing the reader to become fully immersed in the musketeers’ world and lives. There’s intrigue, questions of honor, and a good bit of swashbuckling. The details of life, from the nobles to the servants, are meticulously rendered and make the story come alive. This is a skilled blending of the classic locked-room mystery with a set of well-known historical literary figures. The result is the best of both, and a real pleasure to read.

Rating: 8
April 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21489-3 (paperback)

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