One of Scottish history’s bloodiest murders . . . told by one of Scotland’s most provocative modern crime writers.

It's Saturday evening, 9 March 1566, and Mary, Queen of Scots, is six months pregnant. She's hosting a supper party, secure in her private chambers. She doesn't know that her Palace is surrounded – that, right now, an army of men is creeping upstairs to her chamber. They're coming to murder David Rizzio, her friend and secretary, the handsome Italian man who is smiling across the table at her. Mary's husband, Lord Darnley, wants it done in front of her and he wants her to watch it done ...

Denise Mina brilliantly portrays the sexual dynamics and politics of power – between men and women, monarch and subjects, master and servants. The period is masterfully researched yet lightly drawn, the characterisation quick, subtle and utterly convincing. This breathtakingly tense work is a tale of sex, secrets and lies, one that explores the lengths that men – and women – will go to in the search for love and power.

Chaired by Dr Eleanor Spencer-Regan, Durham University

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