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A Murder for Her Majesty Paperback – January 20, 1992
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-9 Having witnessed the murder of her father, Alice Tuckfield flees to York in search of a family friend. There she is befriended by some members of the York Minster Boys' Choir, who disguise her as a boy and sneak her into the choir. Alice's new identity becomes more than a joke when she discovers that her father's murderers are searching for her and that one of the priests at the cathedral was also involved in the murder plot. The suspense in Hilgartner's gripping mystery is balanced by the fascinating details of daily life at the York Minster during the Elizabethan era. The characterizations, especially of Alice, who must keep many secrets to protect her life; and the priests, a rather diverse group, are carefully realized. Elizabethan York, especially as Hilgartner describes it during the Christmas season, is an appealing setting. Her descriptions, while accurate, never dominate the story. This page-turner will attract readers; it may even entice some to go on to read other historical novels. David Gale, "School Library Journal"
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Hilgartner tells a colorful, engrossing tale of villainy.” —Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
When Alice meets the choirboys she is tired and cold, so she allows them to take her back to their home. She has to stay in the second-floor bedroom because that is the only place where the mean Dame Agnes won't find her. The next morning, Alice goes to a choir practice with the boys and explores around the cathedral while the boys do their lessons. Suddenly she hears one of her father's murderers and another man talking about getting rid of her. This worries Alice greatly, but she does not tell anyone what she has heard. The choirboys think t it will be a lot of fun to see how long Alice can stay in the choir without old Master Frost noticing. She sings so well that eventually he notices and starts working with her personally; he thinks she has outstanding talent. It is then that she joins the choir formally and no longer has to hide in the upper bedroom; instead she is allowed to sleep in the normal room and attend the choir school with the boys. She also meets music instructor, "Sour Face" Kenton and begins to take organ and virginal lessons with him. Later that winter, she sings at the Christmas Eve service. As she is heading home, Geoffrey, to whom she has confided about her father’s murder and the threat to her life, tells her that she needs to go home which one of the other choir boys to ensure that she would make it back safely. But Alice ends up walking home by herself. As she enters an alley, strong hands suddenly grab her from behind and cup a hand over her mouth to muffle her anguished scream.
What I like most about this book, is the way the author develops bonds between the different characters. My favorite part is the exciting climax but I don't want to give that away. My second favorite part is when Alice and Geoffrey find a cat. They name the cat "Catechism" and keep him in the cathedral. During the Christmas service Catechism runs across the stage and hides behind the pulpit he causes a lot of trouble. Another part I like is when Alice becomes friends with Master Kenton and takes music lessons with him. At first he seems really grouchy and mean but as Alice gets to know him, you see the kinder and softer part of him and eventually they sing together at the Christmas Eve service.
Murder for Her Majesty is a thrilling mystery story. It is one of my favorites and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's thinking about reading it. I give it a five star rating, because of the surprising twists and turns and the individual bonds the author creates between Alice and nearly everyone she meets. One of my favorite passages is when Dame Agnes finds out that she is a girl and says: "Pup is a girl?, you can't be serious… Do you mean to tell me there's been a girl in this house for 2 months! Geoffrey Fisher, how could you? I knew you were a wretched little scamp but I had no idea you were so lost to propriety as this!"