It is 1516 and Leonardo Da Vinci, now in his sixties, has left Florence to live in France. The French king, Francis I favours the great man but the Queen does not.
One spring afternoon, when he is sketching in his garden, a messenger arrives from the castle at Amboise, to tell him that the Queen requests his presence. When Leonardo presses the messenger for more information, he regrets that he is not allowed to divulge anything. His natural curiosity piqued, Leonardo goes at once.
When he arrives at the castle it is to learn that at the end of the day’s entertainment – a demonstration of troops from Spain, the Netherlands and Scotland – a young, promising but ambitious man was stabbed. However, the three witnesses to the crime swear they saw no murderer.
The Queen challenges Leonardo to solve this mystery, and within a limited time period. He has until the sun begins to set; a little over an hour. But with limited evidence available to him, and witnesses who witnessed nothing, can Leonardo Da Vinci find the answers the Queen seeks?
I thought this was a really interesting, engaging short story. Leonardo Da Vinci is a perfect choice for a detective.
A great read, which I thoroughly recommend to historical fiction fans or those who enjoy a good whodunnit.
This short story was found in The Mammoth Book of Historical Whodunnits, ed. Mike Ashley.