|“||He's been at home for a week, with the gout. Another week, and I shall put poison in his soup.||”|
— Minnie, An Echo in the Bone
Minerva Wattiswade Grey, or "Minnie" to her family and friends, is married to Harold Grey, Duke of Pardloe.
She is the daughter of Raphael Wattiswade, a dealer in rare books – and a spymaster. Minnie was working as a spy for her father when she was caught by Hal one night in his study during a party, breaking into his desk. Instead of reporting her to the magistrates, he "had her on the hearth rug." She disappeared the next day. When he found her six months later, she was pregnant. They married soon after.
In 1744, Minnie is living in Paris with her spymaster father and using the name Mina Rennie. Her father sends her to London to run errands and procure information on his behalf.
While in London, Minnie meets with clients and attends society events. Harry Quarry asks Minnie to find proof of the affair between Nathaniel Twelvetrees and Hal's wife, Esmé. Over the course of her investigation, Hal discovers her breaking into his study. Hal and Minnie have sex in July 1744, approximately 3 months after Esmé's death, and Minnie flees England soon after. Six months later, she is heavily pregnant and living in Amsterdam when Hal tracks her down. The pair marry at once, making her the Countess Melton.
An Echo in the Bone
In December of 1776, Lord John visits Argus House with the intent of drawing the truth out of Dottie about her sudden desire to marry William, but Minnie informs him that his goddaughter is attending a musicale. She also says that her sick husband's irritability may drive her to poisoning him.
On another occasion, Hal's condition has worsened and Minnie sits with him, worried and sleep-deprived. She leaves when John arrives, to let the brothers talk.
After urging her brother-in-law to come in out of the snow and sitting down to supper, Minnie informs Lord John that she had a visitor named Mrs. Tomlinson – the mistress of Michael Bates, who recently was arrested under suspicion of a sodomite conspiracy.
In the autumn, after John has mostly recovered from his battle wounds, he attends the christening of his new goddaughter, Dorothea Grey. Minnie glares at him after the baby wriggles in John's arms and he nearly loses his grip on her.
When Jamie Fraser arrives at Hal Grey's house in London in 1760, he realizes with shock that he met Hal's wife in 1744 as Mina Rennie, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a Parisian bookseller and spymaster. Minnie urges him to stay quiet "for the sake of the [Jacobite] cause they once shared." She then visits Jamie's room at night and asks him to keep Lord John Grey from following any trails leading to Edward Twelvetrees.
Minnie is extremely clever and logical and funny, and has no trouble keeping up with Lord John Grey and Hal Grey's machinations, in fact Hal describes her as his secret weapon. She is blunt when the situation calls for it, but tends to use subtle means to get what she wants. She's a devoted wife and mother, though John notes that she's one of the few people completely unafraid of Hal.
Her hair is the color of "ripe-wheat" and Dorothea has inherited her mother's rosehip colouring. She has blue eyes and a wide brow. Hal also describes Minnie as demure to look at.
- Minerva is possibly derived from Latin mens meaning "intellect", but more likely of Etruscan origin. Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and war.
- Cunnegunda is an alternate spelling of Kunigunde, which was derived from the Germanic elements kuni "clan, family" and gund "war".
- Wattiswade may trace its origins to the separate names Wattis (based on the Germanic personal name Walter, composed of the elements wald "rule" and heri "army") and Wade (from the Old English word (ge)wæd "to wade").
- Grey has two possible origins: 1) an Anglo-Saxon, Old English nickname for someone with grey hair or a grey beard, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word "graeg", grey; 2) from the place called "Graye" in Calvados, Normandy, so called from the Old Gallo-Roman personal name "Gratus" meaning "Welcome" or "Pleasing", with the suffix "acum" meaning settlement or village.
- Year of birth given as 1721 in Grey Family Tree in The Outlandish Companion, Vol. II.
- Age as of the end of Written in My Own Heart's Blood.
- Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, chapter 35.
- Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, chapter 5.
- A Fugitive Green, Chapter 1
- Behind the Name: Minerva. Accessed 4 May 2016.
- Behind the Name: Kunigunde – accessed 3 June 2016
- House of Names: Wattis – accessed 3 June 2016
- House of Names: Wade – accessed 3 June 2016
- The Internet Surname Database – accessed 19 June 2014