The Queen’s Constables (Tom Lincraft #3), by David Field

Eight stars

With the release of the third novella in David Field’s new series, I returned to Elizabethan England where a new and exciting mystery awaited, full of political implications. Tom Lincraft is the senior constable for Nottinghamshire, working alongside Giles Bradbury, his trusted assistant. While they have been titled “Queen’s Constables”, it seems only a frilly set of words, as they are stuck checking the marketplace for pickpockets. When a note arrives, asking that they come in for a meeting, Lincraft and Bradbury travel to London to meet Francis Walsingham, the Queen’s spymaster. Lincraft is read into a new investigation surrounding a number of Catholic priests brought into English ports from abroad. What these priests are doing remains a mystery, but Lincraft and Bradbury must locate the homes being used to harbour them, then get to the bottom of the larger plot. Working undercover, Lincraft and Bradbury try to infiltrate the network and follow those responsible into rural England. Trouble awaits and there is no guarantee that the mission will run smoothly, particularly when Lincraft comes upon a man who has caused much pain to his family. With their lives on the line, Tom Lincraft and his team must sacrifice all for Queen and country, as England remains somewhat topsy-turvy on its ecclesiastical foundation. Field brings history and mystery together into a wonderful mix of literary flavours, as he has in many past stories. Recommended for those who enjoy short mysteries, as well as fans of David Field and his work.

David Field has flooded the market of late with many books that span a handful of time periods. Each series has its own flavour and I have felt a strong tie to each of the protagonists that lead the narrative. I was yet again impressed with this Elizabethan police procedural series, noticing how the reader can attach themselves to Thomas Lincraft with ease. Field offers more backstory as it relates to the man who serves as a Senior Constable. Lincraft is dedicated to his work and yet appears to have more social connections than in the first two novellas. Lincraft is faced with his past head-on during this piece, which may prove highly entertaining to readers, though its resolution will not appeal to all. Others serve an interesting supporting role, mainly new faces and names within this short piece. There is little time to develop characters, but Field makes a concerted effort in his concise narrative. I enjoy the Tudor period, particularly the latter Elizabethan timeframe, which is rich in history and action. The story develops well and gives the reader something on which to feast, contrasting nicely with the back alleys and into the taverns, as well as with some of the more official and royal individuals who grace the pages of this piece. Field offers short chapters to push the story along, enticing the reader with a mix of action and history. A great trilogy on which FIeld could surely develop more novellas, should to spirit move him.

Kudos, Mr. Field, for another wonderful piece of writing. I am eager to see what else you have in store for readers, be it building on established pieces or new ideas.

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