"This book has excellent pacing, and the story unfolds organically, as one piece fits seamlessly into the next. Calkins also skillfully creates a feeling of 1667 London, with the many layers of class, the way of life for ordinary people, even to the medicines taken and the food eaten. Calkins really puts the reader inside Lucy’s world....This is a wonderful series, a really wonderful array of characters, and best of all a great mystery at the center of things." -Aunt Agatha's Book Reviews
"Lavish period detail, romantic tension, and a complex puzzle make the heroine’s fifth adventure one of her best." Kirkus
"Calkins is a creative and imaginative story-teller and she weaves a story marvelously at a wonderful pace that keeps you engrossed." -Stephanie Hopkins (Layered Pages)
"Clues are uncovered through a variety of surprising twists and turns. Thus, I kept wanting to read “just one more chapter” to see what was discovered next...This is a delightful character-driven, suspenseful murder mystery. Recommended." - J. Lynn Else (Historical Novel Society)
A dead man at a crossroads. A secret message. A ring with a warning about death . . . Printer's apprentice Lucy Campion is caught up in a strange and puzzling murder case in this twisty historical mystery set in seventeenth-century London. London, 1667. On her way to a new market to peddle her True Accounts and Strange News, printer's apprentice Lucy Campion quickly regrets her decision to take the northwestern road. Dark and desolate, the path leads her to the crossroads - and to the old hanging tree. She doesn't believe in ghosts, but she's not sure ghosts don't believe in her. But before she even reaches the crossroads, she's knocked off her feet by two men in a hurry. What were they running from? To her dismay, she soon discovers for herself: there, dangling from the tree, is the body of a man. Did he commit self-murder, or is there something darker afoot? The more Lucy learns, the more determined she is to uncover the truth. But this time, even the help and protection of magistrate's son Adam, and steadfast Constable Duncan, may not be enough to keep her safe from harm . . .
“Calkins makes fine use of advances in mathematics and cryptography of this period, while also drawing in the chaos of the Great Fire and plague in London as agents of change in society. For anyone interested in 17th-century England, this mystery is a treat.” Publishers Weekly
“A crisply written, cleverly plotted, and nicely detailed historical mystery, with a lively heroine and a satisfying ending.” Booklist