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Ursula Blanchard, loyal lady of the Queen's Presence Chamber and gifted sleuth, is at home amid the glittering complexities of the royal court. Now, Ursula has a new part to play in the service of her Queen -- a role that exposes her to hidden dangers in the famed university town of Cambridge.
Assigned as a harbinger for the Queen's upcoming Summer Progress to Cambridge, Ursula is placed in charge of not only Her Majesty's comfort, but also her safety. For Ursula, that means undertaking menial employment in a pie shop to investigate rumored political perils behind a swashbuckling student playlet conceived at the University to entertain the Queen.
Even in such a bastion of Protestant power and scholarly pursuits as Cambridge, protecting the Queen is not purely academic. When a handsome young student's all-too-conveniently timed death rouses her suspicions, Ursula applies her superior powers of observation to untangling a mystifying jumble of oddities, coincidences, secrets, and ciphers that surround her...and discovers ominous signs of treason.