Description (from cover):
‘In her historic mysteries The Rhetoric of Death and The Eloquence of Blood, Judith Rock created an atmosphere that ‘takes you back to fascinating and dangerous seventeenth-century Paris so well that I suspect her of being a time-traveler who’s been there.’ Now, the latest novel to feature Charles du Luc finds the ex-soldier-turned-Jesuit caught up in royal intrigue…
Madame de Maintenon is King Louis XIV’s second wife. The daughter of a minor noble of ill-repute, she has not forgiven the king’s Jesuit confessor for encouraging him to withhold the title of queen from her. To placate her, the prestigious Louis le Grand Jesuit school has sent a delegation–including her distance cousin Pere Jouvancy and the rhetoric teacher Charles du Luc–to Versailles with the gift of a reliquary.
But while the Sun King’s palace may be spectacular, this visit is anything but pleasant. A courtier dies their first night, and court whispers claim poison. Then the Jesuit delegation falls dreadfully ill, and a palace gardener is found murdered. Fear grips a court already on edge. In the midst of all this, Charles learns that one of his students is in love with the king’s rebellious (and betrothed) daughter, and may ruin not only himself, but all of them…’
For some reason, I was seriously distracted while reading this book. I’m not sure if it was the Thanksgiving holiday and the shopping on Black Friday, but for some reason, I had a hard time staying focused. This is the latest installment in the Charles du Luc mystery series. I have to say, honestly, that I enjoyed the first two much more than this one. The murder was easy to figure out and there wasn’t a lot of suspense and suspects that kept the reader guessing. It was a pretty straightforward investigation and maybe that’s why I was distracted.
Charles du Luc, an ex-soldier turned Jesuit, has been asked to go to Versailles as part of a delegation from the school where he teaches. The king’s new wife has animosity towards the Jesuit priesthood and they hope a gift of a reliquary will soothe her anger. The first night that the delegation is there a murder happens right outside their room. Charles, of course, immediately has his interest piqued and he is concerned when rumors start going around the court that the victim was poisoned. Outraged, the courtiers demand justice. Soon thereafter, Charles stumbles across a dead body in a nearby lake and learns that this victim is a palace gardener. No one really cares about the gardener’s death as he is a part of the lower class. Charles feels it is his duty to find out who wanted the gardener and the courtier dead and why.
I really enjoyed the fact that this novel mainly takes place at Versailles and features Louis XIV, the Sun King in his magnificent palace soon after it was built. Versailles was known around Europe for its luxury and splendor and it was awesome to have it featured in this novel. You really get the sense of the palace and feel as if you are really there among the glamor. I also liked the interaction Charles has with the King’s bastard children. They are interesting in their own right and I enjoyed learning about them. I highly encourage lovers of historical mysteries to read this series, but strongly advise that you read them in order. The first two were better installments, I feel, more so than this one and I am hoping that this is just a fluke and the next one will regain the momentum of the others.
Overall Rating: 3.5
Title: A Plague of Lies
Author: Judith Rock
Series: Charles du Luc Mystery #3
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Genre: Historical Mystery
Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.