In Fidelis Morgan's novel The Rival Queens, Countess Ashby de la Zouche and Alpiew, her maid, are trying to use a
lecture about philosophical writings on the Passions to elude bailiffs
wielding debt orders. Their boredom is interrupted by the leading
lady’s replacement onstage appearance with the blood of her rival on
her hands. Several likely suspects lead the Countess and her maid on a merry
chase -- including, but not limited to, the aforementioned rival, the
victim's mad husband, an obsessed fan and the local rapscallion, Rakewell.
With a plethora of suspects, the intricate plot weaves its way through
a maze of interesting historical tidbits to keep the reader guessing
which motive and opportunity point to the real killer. The characters
are so well defined and the scenes so vividly described that readers
can almost smell the dank streets of 1700 London.
The Rival Queens holds the reader in rapt anticipation as each
suspect, convincingly introduced as the murderer, is eliminated one by
one until the unlikely culprit is finally unveiled.