Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young girl seeks revenge for her father's murder while disguised as a boy in Elizabethan England.


"A Murder for Her Majesty" by Beth Hilgartner is a captivating historical fiction novel that takes place in Elizabethan England. The story follows a young girl named Alice Tuckfield as she navigates the dangerous and thrilling world of espionage and mystery. Filled with intrigue, suspense, and a touch of music, the novel offers a unique perspective on the Elizabethan era and the challenges faced by its characters.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in 16th century England, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. After witnessing her father's murder, Alice Tuckfield flees for her life and finds sanctuary at the Cathedral of York. Disguised as a boy, Alice joins the choir school and becomes embroiled in a web of mystery and danger. As she uncovers the truth behind her father's murder, Alice must navigate the treacherous world of espionage and betrayal.

Plot Overview and Setting

The novel is set against the backdrop of Elizabethan England, a time of political intrigue, religious turmoil, and social upheaval. The story takes place in the city of York, with its bustling streets, grand cathedrals, and shadowy alleyways. The author vividly portrays the sights and sounds of the era, immersing the reader in the rich historical tapestry of Elizabethan England.

Main Characters

The characters in "A Murder for Her Majesty" are intricately woven into the fabric of the story, each playing a crucial role in Alice's journey.

Alice TuckfieldThe protagonist, a brave and resourceful young girl who seeks the truth about her father's murder.
RogerAlice's friend and fellow chorister, who becomes entangled in the dangerous events unfolding at the cathedral.
Lady JaneA mysterious woman with a hidden agenda, whose actions have a profound impact on Alice's fate.
Master KentThe stern but fair choirmaster who takes Alice under his wing and supports her musical talents.
MegA streetwise girl who befriends Alice and helps her navigate the perilous streets of York.

Summary of Different Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1-3: A Violent Tragedy

  • Alice witnesses her father's murder and narrowly escapes with her life.
  • Fleeing for safety, she finds refuge at the Cathedral of York, disguised as a boy.

Chapter 4-6: A New Identity

  • Alice assumes the identity of "Pup" and joins the choir school, facing the challenges of blending in as a boy.
  • She forms a bond with Roger and discovers the joys and hardships of life as a chorister.

Chapter 7-9: Unraveling Mysteries

  • Alice's quest for the truth about her father's murder leads her to uncover a web of secrets and lies.
  • She becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of espionage and deception, putting her own life at risk.

Chapter 10-12: The Power of Music

  • Alice's musical talents earn her recognition and admiration within the choir school.
  • Her passion for music becomes a source of strength and solace amidst the turmoil and danger surrounding her.

Chapter 13-15: Betrayal and Redemption

  • Alice's trust is shattered as she uncovers the truth about the people closest to her.
  • She must confront betrayal and treachery, drawing on her courage and resilience to survive.

Main Events

The novel is filled with pivotal events that shape the course of Alice's journey:

Witnessing the MurderAlice's world is shattered when she witnesses her father's brutal murder, setting her on a path of danger and discovery.
Seeking SanctuaryFleeing from those who seek to harm her, Alice finds refuge at the Cathedral of York and takes on a new identity to ensure her safety.
Uncovering SecretsAs Alice delves into the mystery of her father's murder, she uncovers a web of deceit, espionage, and hidden agendas that threaten her life.
Confronting BetrayalThe revelation of betrayal by those she trusted forces Alice to summon her inner strength and resilience to navigate the perilous path ahead.

Themes and Insights


  • Identity and Disguise: The novel explores the theme of identity as Alice assumes a new persona to protect herself, blurring the lines between truth and deception.
  • Betrayal and Trust: The story delves into the complexities of trust and betrayal, as Alice grapples with the shocking revelations about those closest to her.
  • Courage and Resilience: Alice's journey is a testament to the power of courage and resilience in the face of adversity, as she confronts danger and uncertainty with unwavering determination.


  • The novel offers a glimpse into the Elizabethan era, highlighting the social, political, and religious dynamics that shaped the lives of its characters.
  • Through the lens of music and espionage, the story weaves a tapestry of intrigue and suspense, drawing the reader into a world of secrets and revelations.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Murder for Her Majesty" is a compelling tale of mystery, intrigue, and the indomitable spirit of a young girl in Elizabethan England. The novel's vivid portrayal of the era, coupled with its engaging characters and gripping plot, makes it a captivating read for history enthusiasts and mystery lovers alike. As Alice navigates the perilous paths of deception and danger, readers are drawn into a world of secrets and revelations, ultimately finding inspiration in her unwavering courage and resilience.


Beth Hilgartner's "A Murder for Her Majesty" offers a riveting blend of historical fiction, mystery, and adventure, transporting readers to the heart of Elizabethan England. Through the eyes of the courageous protagonist, Alice Tuckfield, the novel unfolds a tale of identity, betrayal, and the enduring power of resilience. With its rich historical detail and captivating storytelling, the book leaves a lasting impression, inviting readers to embark on a thrilling journey through the treacherous streets of York and the secrets that lie within.

A Murder for Her Majesty FAQ

  1. What is 'A Murder for Her Majesty' about?

    A Murder for Her Majesty is a historical fiction novel about a young girl named Alice Tuckfield who seeks refuge in a choir school after witnessing the murder of her father. She disguises herself as a boy and becomes involved in solving the mystery of her father's death.

  2. Who is the author of 'A Murder for Her Majesty'?

    The book 'A Murder for Her Majesty' is written by Beth Hilgartner.

  3. What time period is the book set in?

    The story is set in the Elizabethan era in England.

  4. Is 'A Murder for Her Majesty' suitable for young readers?

    Yes, the book is suitable for young readers, particularly those interested in historical fiction and mystery novels.

  5. Is 'A Murder for Her Majesty' part of a series?

    No, 'A Murder for Her Majesty' is a standalone novel and not part of a series.