The Westminster Poisoner: 4 (Adventures of Thomas Chaloner)

The Westminster Poisoner
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The Lord Chancellor appoints Chaloner as his investigator into the killiings, believing them to be of scant importance to the affairs of state he deals with. The murder of a man on London Bridge is the first indication that the Earl of Clarendon's fears of a rebellion may be well-founded. His spy, Thomas Chaloner, suspects the assassin may be a member of a group dedicated to seeing the return of Puritanism, and at the same time he learns of a faction determined to bring back the Catholic Church.

In the dilapidated surroundings of the Savoy, a delegation from the Netherlands is gathered in a last ditch attempt to secure peace. Thomas Chaloner is horrified at the violent aggression shown to the Dutch by ordinary Londoners, but he is more worried by the dismissive attitude with which they are greeted by the King's officials. Then the body of his former brother-in-law is found in the Thames, and Chaloner discovers enigmatic clues pointing to a motivation for his murder.

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Thomas Chaloner is relieved to be summoned back to London. He will be glad to be home, to be reunited with his new wife, but the trivial reason for his recall exasperates him — the theft of material from the construction site of his master, the Earl of Clarendon's embarrassingly sumptuous new house just north of Piccadilly.

Five years after Charles II's triumphant return there is growing mistrust of his extravagant court - and when a cart laden with gunpowder explodes outside the General Letter Office, it is immediately clear that such an act is more than an expression of outrage at the postal service. As intelligencer to the Lord Chamberlain, Thomas Chaloner cannot understand why an incompetent man is put in charge of the investigation while he is diverted to make enquiries about the poisoning of birds in the King's aviary in St James's Park.

It's , and the capital is awash with rumours of conspiracy. Thomas Chaloner knows that there are few grains of truth in the rumour-mill, but the loss of an important warship and the murder of Paul Ferine, a Groom of the Robes, makes him scent a whiff of genuine treason. As well as investigating the murder, Chaloner is charged with tracking down the leaders of a fanatical sect known as the Fifth Monarchists.

Then, as he comes to know more about the Fifth Monarchists and their meetings on High Holborn, he discovers a number of connections.

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London in the spring of is a city full of fear. There is plague in the stews of St Giles, the Dutch fleet is preparing to invade, and a banking crisis threatens to leave Charles II's government with no means of paying for the nation's defence. Amid the tension, Thomas Chaloner is ordered to investigate the murder of Dick Wheler, one of the few goldsmith-bankers to have survived the losses that have driven others to bankruptcy - or worse.

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Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Gregory's excellent fourth Thomas Chaloner adventure set in Restoration London (after 's The. The Westminster Poisoner: 4 (Adventures of Thomas Chaloner) by Susanna Gregory () on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

In the sapping summer heat of , there is little celebration in London of the naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft. The King, his retinue and anyone with sufficient means has fled the plague-ridden city, its half-deserted streets echoing the sound of bells tolling the mounting number of deaths. Those who remain clutch doubtful potions to ward off the relentless disease and dart nervously past shuttered buildings, watchful for the thieves who risk their lives to plunder what has been left behind. The plague raging through London in has emptied the city.

The only people left are those too poor to flee or those who selflessly struggle to control the contagion and safeguard the capital's future.

The Westminster Poisoner

Amongst them, though, are those prepared to risk their health for money - those who sell dubious 'cures' and hawk food at wildly inflated prices. Also amongst them are those who hold in their hands the future of the city's most iconic building - St Paul's Cathedral. By January , the plague has almost disappeared from London, leaving its surviving population diminished and in poverty. The resentment against those who had fled to the country turns to outrage as the court and its followers return, their licentiousness undiminished. The death of a well-connected physician, the mysterious sinking of a man-of-war in the Thames and the disappearance of a popular courtier are causing concern to Thomas Chaloner's employer.

The Lord Chancellor believes the culprit to be another clerk, but Chaloner has reservations. His search for the real murderer plunges him into a stinking seam of corruption, where the pickings are so rich that men are prepared to go to any lengths to protect their profits. Meanwhile, in the Palace of White Hall, Chaloner realises that a pack of fanatical rebels is planning an explosive climax to achieve its goals.

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Desperately racing against time, he is determined to thwart the insurgents — as determined as they are to prevent him from revealing their true intentions…. The summer of , and a group of delegates from Holland has arrived in London in a desperate attempt to avert an outbreak of hostilities with Britain. However, it is not long before one is murdered, and Chaloner must find the killer before the warmongers on both sides use the incident to plunge their countries into a bloody and brutal conflict.

Chaloner is pleased to see London after an assignment in Tangier, but within moments of his arrival, he witnesses a murder. His enquiries lead him into some very dark places, including stolen corpses, the assassination of high officials, and a plot to frame the Queen for treason.

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When a cart laden with gunpowder explodes outside the General Letter Office, it is immediately clear that such an act is more than an expression of outrage at the inefficiency of the postal service. Chaloner wants to investigate, but is forbidden by his employer for reasons that make no sense to him.

It is but the start of an investigation that calls for him to infiltrate a group of fanatics known as the Fifth Monarchists. Soon he discovers that the blowing up of a navy ship could be only a part of a plot that could undermine the entire monarchy. Alarmed, the Earl of Clarendon sends Chaloner to investigate, leading the spy to discover a web of deceit made only more dangerous by the deadly plague inexplicably spreading through all parts of London.

Chaloner is sent to the rural village of Chelsea to investigate a theft from an asylum to which the Earl of Clarendon has given support. But rather than just a thief, he finds the village is threatened by a murderer, whose victims begin to mount.

But is the killer from the local theological college, which is currently housing Dutch prisoners of war, or does he have a connection with the very asylum the spy is trying to help? The Earl of Clarendon sends Chaloner back to a London where the plague is killing thousands each week to investigate a body discovered in a crypt — not newly deceased, but dead some twenty years.

Thomas Chaloner Who is Thomas Chaloner? The character of Thomas Chaloner is fictional, but his family was real. The Westminster Poisoner Chaloner is ordered to investigate the murder of Christopher Vine, a diligent Treasury official.