Monday, November 20, 2006

The Murders of Richard III

The Murders of Richard III

Elizabeth Peters

Date: 1974   —   used only   —   Book

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Fiction, Mystery

A society to clear Richard III's name of the murder of his nephews has met with a new prize, a letter that will shed some light on the situation. For their annual get-together, they have decided to dress up in period costume and assume some of the roles of the time. Librarian Jacqueline Kirby is along for the ride, a good thing as pranks start happening, replicating the deaths of the characters involved. "Clarence" is suspended upside-down in an empty barrel of liquor, "drowned in a butt of malmsey." "Hastings" is knocked out and set up with a kerchief over his head (and a mannequin head on a nearby table), "beheaded by order of the king." Harmless enough.

But Mrs. Kirby has to deal with the idea that these pranks are much more sinister, and that they are leading up to something deadly. What is the significance of the letter? Of the roles people have decided to play? And, most importantly, who is the target?

For some reason this book seems murky to me. One barely gets a sense of Mrs. Kirby's character, to the detriment of the story. Oh well.

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