The King’s Evil (Marwood and Lovett #3), by Andrew Taylor

Eight stars

The third of Andrew Taylor’s novels in this seres takes the reader on yet another adventure into the streets of London and around the English countryside. James Marwood is still serving his two masters and making a decent name for himself in 1667. However, when summoned to see King Charles II, Marwood is sent on an unenviable task to investigate a murder. When he arrives, Marwood learns the victim is Edward Alderley, an evil man in his own right and one known to Marwood, at least tangentially. His acquaintance, Cat Lovett, had spoken of her cousin and despises him for reasons revealed in the text. While Marwood begins working through the case, he must face the rumours that Cat may be responsible, though his gut tells him otherwise. King Charles II has been undertaking ceremonial laying on of hands for some of the locals afflicted with scrofula (tuberculosis), which is all the talk around London, though Marwood tries not to get caught up in the fervour while seeking to find a killer. It would seem one is not enough, as a second man is found dead, drowned in a mill pond. With the pressure on and Cat Lovett still in hiding, Marwood has to clear her name while keeping her location under wraps. This will again put many in peril and stir up an ever-boiling pot once again. Well paced and a strong continuation of the series by Andrew Taylor, who shows he has a handle on the series. Recommended to those who enjoy English period pieces, particularly the reader who finds historical mysteries of interest.

Andrew Taylor dazzles as he continues to delve into the world of 17th Century London. Mixing a strong story with historical goings-on, Taylor weaves together a narrative that will keep the reader enticed throughout. Taylor brings back the dual protagonists, but the focus certainly focuses on James Marwood. In a story that involves many subplots, there are hints at character development for Marwood. The reader discovers some of his personal feelings for others in the tale, including a love interest that has him wrapped around her finger. Marwood remains determined to take his job seriously and forges ahead, seeking out a murderer with a motive, while trying to protect his acquaintance in hiding, Cat Lovett. Looking at Lovett, the other protagonist, the reader discovers some troubling events in her past that explain much of the animosity towards Edward Alderley. This, and the ongoing hunt for her as daughter of a key plotter during the Civil War gives a better picture of who she is and how her life has been shaped by distrust. Taylor peppers the narrative with many other characters, all who provide the reader with historical education about life in these times, as well as some lighter banter. These wonderful storylines involve a number of the characters and permit ongoing complementing of the larger story. The story remained sound and the history seems realistic enough to leave me wondering how close it parallels fact. I am eager to see where Taylor seeks to go with the series, whose fourth book is due out in Spring 2020.

Kudos, Mr. Taylor, for keeping me in a growing state of education while entertaining me at each turn.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: