Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Margaret Frazer
Berkley, August 2005
288 pages
ISBN: 0425204340

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Joliffe and his fellow players are now under the patronage of Lord Lovell. As the harvest was once again poor, this job security is welcoming to the players regarding of the demands placed upon them. Joliffe has proven his investigating ability so Lord Lovell turns to him when a problem arises.

Mariena, Sir Edmund Deneby's daughter is about to be wed. Her parents and the groom's family are currently negotiating the bridal contract. Lord Lovell is worried because Mariena's previous fiance died under mysterious circumstances. Before he allows her to marry into the family of a friend, he wants to be certain that she is not a murderess and that she plans to carry through with this wedding. The players are to travel to Deneby Manor and provide entertainment for the wedding party.

Once they arrive, it is apparent that things are not as they should be. The youngest Deneby has survived a series of accidents that seem suspicious when taken as a whole. No one seems to view the incidences as anything other than accidents, but the players are concerned. There is a lot of strain between Mariena and her parents. Lady Deneby does not get along with her daughter as they frequently quarrel. In addition, the Manor's priest is troubled and the servants have mixed views of the upcoming nuptials. Joliffe must find the truth before anyone else is killed.

A PLAY OF DUX MORAUD involves a cast of players, although the story focuses on Joliffe. While the company is small, it is strange that even though they play such a dominant role in the plot explanation, they do not play a large role in the story. If the players had been under the guidance of Joliffe, this situation would make more sense but they are not.

Margaret Frazer has the ability to write strong historical mysteries. While her books do tend to be cozies, the historical information is accurate and the characters behave in the correct manner of the period. The one thing that stands out the most about A PLAY OF DUX MORAUD is the role of proper behavior. Mariena does not behave as a young woman should, but she (as well as her family) keeps this behavior hidden for private moments. Even though she cannot meet societal expectations, she can maintain the proper face for social occasions.

In addition, the actors do not fit traditional societal expectations either. While they must know how to behave when performing or when dealing with their patrons, they do not have to follow this behavior all of the time. In a way, they are outside of the dominant culture and have the ability to sneak behind the scenes. This allows them the opportunity to investigate people and in this case murder.

A PLAY OF DUX MORAUD is the second book to feature Joliffe as a detective. Margaret Frazer also writes the Dame Frevisse series that features a nun investigating criminal activity.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, September 2005

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]