Christopher Vine, a Treasury clerk working in solitary piety in the Painted Chamber of the Palace of Westminster, is not alone. A killer waits in the draughty hall to ensure Vine will not live to see in the New Year. And Vine is not the only government official to die that season. The Lord Chancellor fears his enemies will skew any investigation to cause him maximum damage, so he decides to commission his own inquiries into the murders and, with his suspicions centred on Greene, another clerk, he instructs Thomas Chaloner to prove that Greene is the killer. Chaloner can prove otherwise, but unravelling the reasons behind his employer's suspicions is as complex as discovering the motives for the killings. His search for the real murderer plunges him into a stinking seam of corruption that leads towards the Royal apartments and to people determined to make Christmas 1663 Chaloner's last . . .
Susanna Gregory was a police officer in Leeds before taking up an academic career. She has served as an environmental consultant, worked seventeen field seasons in the polar regions, and has taught comparative anatomy and biological anthropology.She is the creator of the Matthew Bartholomew series of mysteries set in medieval Cambridge and the Thomas Chaloner adventures in Restoration London, and now lives in Wales with her husband, who is also a writer.