Gr. 4-7. This new series, ostensibly the diaries (or daybooks) of Lady Grace Cavendish (the real author is British writer Patricia Finney), takes place in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, where Grace serves as a lady-in-waiting. With plenty of twenty-first-century spunk, she solves mysteries that are turning the court upside down. In Assassin, one of Grace's suitors is murdered, and the 13-year-old's cool-headed calculations prove that the lord to whom she has given her hand is not the killer as everyone supposes. He is also not the man Grace believes him to be, so she gives him the boot. In Betrayal, another young lady-in-waiting seems to have eloped with Sir Francis Drake, but Grace uses her prognosticating skill and masquerades as a boy to prove otherwise. The books, which occasionally use Old English words (there's a glossary) and handwritten notes, are filled with details of Elizabethan life. An author's note distinguishes fact from fiction. The stories move swiftly, and the mix of history and mystery will keep kids interested. Ilene Cooper
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