Was it in the Tower of London bookshop that I discovered the excellent Tudor-era historical fiction of Patricia Finney?
Even more remarkable: good as her novels are, Garrett Mattingly's The Armada is still even better:
Fotheringhay, February 18, 1587: Mr. Beale had not brought the warrant until Sunday evening but by Wednesday morning, before dawn outlined its high windows, the great hall at Fotheringhay was ready. Though the earl of Shrewsbury had returned only the day before, nobody wanted any more delay. Nobody knew what messenger might be riding on the London road. Nobody knew which of the others might not weaken if they waited another day.
The hall had been cleared of all its ordinary furniture. Half-way along its length a huge fire of logs blazing in the chimney battled against the creeping chill. Towards the upper end of the hall they had set up a small platform, like a miniature stage for traveling actors, jutting twelve feet into the hall, eight or nine feet wide, and less then three feet high...