The English Agent

P 146 ‘”Magic is the moment when a ghost appears on the stage, and everyone in the audience knows that ghost is an actor, and then, after another moment, in a hushed gallery, everyone forgets the actor, and there is actually a ghost on the stage.’”

Stopping by our local Takoma Park Maryland Library after a hectic school week, I pulled into the parking lot to grab a “comfort” novel. This means I was searching for a mystery, with content that is not graphic or gory, and characters or setting somewhat familiar. This is not the first mystery title I have read featuring an Elizabethan setting centering on actors of the time who solve mysteries – most notably those written by Edward Marston. The English Agent by Phillip DePoy, however, features playwright and poet, Christopher Marlowe, fictionalized in his role as a secret agent.  Admitting to only general – very general – knowledge of this historical period, I am grateful to this author.* While I have enjoyed other titles of the genre, this one is written gracefully and weaves myriad threads into a fast-moving plot with historical characters and events while keeping it palpably real and riveting. Combining humor, tenderness, and even wisdom, my history lesson was one most gratifying.

*and Lee, who must be a wonderful inspiration and so deserving of multiple tributes!


DePoy, Phillip. The English Agent, a Christopher Marlowe Mystery.  Minotaur Books, 2017.

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