As the daughter of a nobleman, Alice Tuckfield probably shouldn’t have been climbing trees. But when she sees her father murdered by his supposed friends, her hiding place in the tree saves her life. After overhearing the murderers imply that their orders came from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Alice doesn’t know who she can trust. She immediately sets off on her own in the hope of finding her father’s old friend Lady Jenny, who lives miles away in York. When she finally reaches the city, exhausted and starving, Alice runs into some boys from the choir school—or rather they run into her, literally. After sneaking her into their boarding house and getting her some food, the boys decide that it would be a great laugh to dress Alice up like a boy and see how long it takes their choir master to notice that he (she) is in the choir. Alice (now known as “Pup”) realizes that this is the perfect opportunity to disguise her identity and hide from her father’s assassins, who might be after her next. But as she gets comfortable in the choir school with the boys–and even begins to develop a friendship with the cantankerous organist who seems to get along with no one else–the assassins get closer and closer to discovering her whereabouts.
This book is an old favorite of mine, with a great blend of mystery/intrigue and schoolyard shenanigans, and of course the classic “girl-disguised-as-a-boy-so-she-can-do-things-she-wasn’t-allowed-to-do-in-the-olden-days” plotline. And as someone who sings and plays piano myself, I greatly appreciate the music in this book! (Also, Master Kenton, the organist, is a great character and I really want to be his friend.) A Murder For Her Majesty is targeted for older elementary readers.
If you like A Murder for Her Majesty, you might also enjoy The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.