Anyone need a break from the constant bad news in the world and the impending holiday stress? When I need a virtual Prozac I like to get lost in a mystery novel. Something about them really calms me down, especially if they are historical. I just finished A Prisoner in Malta, which is the first in a new mystery series that has Christopher Marlowe as our amateur sleuth slash secret agent slash spy. So fun!
The story is set in 1583, when Marlowe is only nineteen years old, before becoming a famous playwright he is now just a problem child student at Cambridge University. He is such a fun protagonist; he is sexy and brilliant and a total smart ass and I loved him immediately. In the story, he is summoned to take part in protecting Queen Elizabeth I from a plot to assassinate her. He is charged with traveling to Malta (obviously this led me down a 2 hour Pinterest trail about Malta, which is definitely going on the list for travel – and soon) to break a mysterious prisoner out of a heavily guarded jail.
Through a mass of fun wordplay and deduction, Marlowe unravels the mystery of the plot, which is intricate and a bit confusing. The story itself is actually secondary to how adorable every conversation he has with others is. I enjoyed this light mystery and will definitely look forward to reading more in this series as it goes. Marlowe is a fun hero, a sarcastic Renaissance bad boy who I knew just enough about to have fun with. It’s a light and enjoyable book that will remind you that politics has always been treacherous.
Grade – B-