Elizabethan London teems with life and deadly deeds as its queen struggles to solve a woman's murder by delving into a girl's memories. At stake are Elizabeth Tudor's right to rule---and her very life.
In the eighth year of the young queen's reign, England is awash in fads. Tobacco is introduced from the New World and so is chocolate, which is secretly smuggled from Spain. Black garments become the rage and are beautifully set off by Elizabeth's style of flaunting pearls. Starch, introduced from the Netherlands, is worth its weigh in gold after Her Majesty promotes the wearing of huge ruffs. IN addition, Sir Thomas Gresham, the queen's wealthy financial advisor, begins to build the huge mercantile exchange that will become England's first shopping mall.
Unfortunately for the queen and her court, adultery, revenge, and murder never go out of style. When the royal starcher is drowned and a young witness to the villainy is so shocked that she loses her memory, the queen and her coterie set out to solve the crime. If the truth does not prevail, Elizabeth might lose people dear to her who fall under suspicion. As a second woman is drowned, and then a third, the queen also fears she might lose her own life, for the deadly, dual nature of even those she trusts always remains the fatal fashion.