There’s a new Royal Coroner at Buckingham Palace, and he foolishly fancies Florence Nightingale. As Poppy Throckmorten chronicles her mentor’s attempts to sell the rare emerald given her by Queen Victoria, another mysterious death is attributed to the jewel. Florence and Poppy must find the murderer before more victims fall prey to the glittering green stone.
Queen Victoria leaned forward perched on her throne, rapt with attention. I was a bit frustrated with my view as the bulky guards had the gypsy woman surrounded. Snaking my way around Florence I moved to a better vantage point.
Madame Tchotchke placed the emerald to her ear as one would a seashell. What was the emerald saying to her? I wondered if all gifts from nature could speak to us. She listened for the longest time, and then nodded. As if responding to a request she slipped the stone into the bodice of her dress. From where I stood she appeared to drop it between her breasts.
A gasp of surprise rose from the assembly. The guards each wore a confused look. I imagined not one of them dared grab for the jewel. Lord Melbourne lunged from his post and moved toward the gypsy. “I must feel it next to my heart to be certain it speaks the truth!” she said.
Madame Tchotchke pressed her hand to her chest and spoke in a husky tone unlike her prior words, “There have been murders attached to the possession of this emerald. Long before it arrived in England, long before its journey—” here she hesitated— “on the Nile River.” She cast Florence a glazed look. “This stone was meant to give you the ability to heal; not power, but a sanctuary where lives may be saved.” Madame Tchotchke slowly reached into her bodice and removed the jewel.
Book 3 in the popular Florence Nightingale Comedy Mystery series. A trailblazing figure in nursing, Florence Nightingale faces a series of bizarre mysteries for which she must use her nimble deductive powers while aided by her little pocket owl, Athena, and her sweet but sparkly sidekick, Poppy Throckmorten.
This is a fun read that moves at a fast pace and more twists and turns than a Sherlock Holmes novel. I loved liberties taken with historical characters as it made for an amusing and entertaining read.