The Last Protector is the fourth book in the James Marwood and Cat Lovett series. It is set in the 17th century, just after the Restoration of King Charles II. The main protagonists are James Marwood (a government agent) and Cat Lovett (the much younger wife of an elderly architect). Both characters have fathers who are considered traitors to the Crown, so they have to tread carefully. Although they are good friends, rather than work together to solves crimes (as I expected) they usually become involved in the same mystery from different ends.
In this story James has been instructed to spy on the Duke of Buckingham, a wealthy, influential and supposed friend of the King - but just as likely to betray him! Cat, meanwhile, has been contacted by a childhood friend - the daughter of Richard Cromwell, the last Lord Protector of the British Isles. The Cromwell family is down on their luck but Richard believes his mother left something of substantial value hidden in her former lodgings at the Palace of Whitehall. Can Cat's husband help them find it?
I do love a good treasure hunt and it was this, combined with the amount of atmospheric historical detail, that really made this story for me. Cat is my favourite character because she is so proactive, although I loved the scene where the more cautious James inadvertently ends up hiding in a brothel!
The Last Protector would suit anyone who loves a cracking good historical mystery and I can't wait to read the next one in the series!
Thank you to Andrew Taylor and HarperCollins for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.