Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Murders of Richard III

My dear readers: Have you ever wondered whether Richard III really did murder those innocent babes in the Tower to secure his position on the English throne?

Miss Lemon must tell you that she likes to ponder that tricky bit of history every now again. So it was with great pleasure that she picked up The Murders of Richard III (1974), by Elizabeth Peters, wherein the main characters seek to suss out the truth behind the much-maligned reign of dark King Richard.

Their parlour-games of re-enactment, however, quickly turn treacherous as one by one the various characters that were supposed victims of Richard III fall into mischief and even worse.

Will Jacqueline Kirby, Ms. Peters' spirited librarian-cum-sleuth who sets on the case with her prodigious handbag and formidable store of knowledge sort out the tangled histories and the mystery of the Ricardian trickster in time to stop a murderer?

Miss Lemon leaves it to her readers to find out.

She will say, though, that those who like medieval history are certain to like this book. Ditto for admirers of Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time, which the book gently spoofs. For if there was ever a figure from history who has swirling about him more mystery than Richard III, Miss Lemon would like to meet him.

Elizabeth Peters is one of the nom de plumes for Barbara Mertz, a respected historian and author of nearly 70 books, including works of nonfiction. Two of these are now considered classic works of popular history: Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs and Red Land, Black Land. She earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago in 1952. Mystery Writers of America awarded her the MWA Grandmaster in 1998.

When it comes to the past, Ms. Peters knows whereof she speaks.


  1. I've never read this....obviously I need to rectify that oversight immediately. ;) I am a big Elizabeth Peters fan, but mainly I read the Amelia Peabody and Vicky Bliss books. This Jacqueline Kirby one sounds good. I am a big fan of Josephine Tey's DAUGHTER OF TIME as well.

  2. I'm with Yvette, I want to read this book right now!

  3. Oh, it's such fun! You'll both enjoy it. Miss Lemon just passed it on to one of her librarian colleagues, who can't put it down.

  4. Ok, library's got a copy for me. Will try and get over there tomorrow. They've also got a copy of the new Spencer Quinn book, TO FETCH A THIEF - does Miss Lemon read the Chet and Bernie series? If not, she simply must. ;)
    Got a feeling it's going to be a great reading weekend!

  5. Miss Lemon -- babies in the Tower? Oh, such dark thoughts swirling through your lovely brain! I hope you have something for an antidote.

  6. Yes, G: Plutarch! We can chat about him tomorrow. See you then, m'dear....