A Murderous Affair is a murder mystery set in Elizabethan London. A wealthy Portuguese merchant, carrying the seal of a local nobleman, is found dead on the bank of the Thames. The nobleman tasks his illegitimate half-brother with tracking down the killer. Queen Elizabeth’s spy master, Sir Francis Walsingham, is also keen for the murderer to be found, as the dead man had told him of a potential traitor in the inner circles at court.
A Murderous Affair has plenty of historical colour. There are descriptions of life in and around London, including a visit to one of the theatres. The hero, John Lovat, is a fairly well-rounded character. Unfortunately, some of the minor characters aren’t very well drawn and come out as two-dimensional. I also had problems with spelling and punctuation in this novel. There were a number of occasions where homonyms were uncorrected (there instead of their, bridle instead of bridal, for example) and there were misplaced apostrophes. It was as if the publisher, Endeavour Press Ltd., felt that they could dispense with a copy-editor. This book may only be available in electronic form, but errors like this are inexcusable, in my opinion.
I understand that A Murderous Affair is Jonathan Digby’s first novel. In some ways, it shows. The story moves along nicely, although some may find the ending unsatisfactory. Over all, it lacks the polish of the works of C. J. Sansom and S. J. Parris.