Book Review: Victoria Smith presents “The Murders of Richard III” by Elizabeth Peters

 

Elizabeth Peters “The Murders of Richard III”

 


♛ Review by Victoria Smith ♛


 
I love a good story. History is so often presented as a dry collection of names and dates, when in reality history is a retelling off the lives of people. And people are very rarely as dry as a list of their names and dates and would suggest.
So, when it comes to history I have learned more from well researched historical fiction than any academic tome.
 
Such was the case with The Murders of Richard the III written by Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz).
She has a PhD in Egyptology and Ms. Peter’s scholastic aptitude is apparent in her historically detailed mysteries.
 
This book is set at a weekend retreat of Ricardians, who have gathered to reveal new evidence that they believe will finally exonerate Richard III of the murders of his nephews. With the media descending someone begins to recreate the murders attributed to Richard III. Debates about the legitimacy of Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, the political machinations of the Duke of Buckingham, and the fates of the princes are peppered throughout the novel as the Ricardians are torn between solving the mysterious fate of the princes or identifying who is trying to discredit them or silence them forever.
 
I read the book because Elizabeth Peters is one of my favorite authors.
But, while the book is entertaining, it caused me to question my assumptions about Richard III. Most of what I thought about Richard III seems to have been based on Shakespeare’s’ interpretation of his character. As I read, I found myself chuckling over a character’s passionate disparaging of Sir Thomas More’s biography of Richard III as Tudor propaganda and wondering about the man who, in his short reign, was the center of so much conflict both during his lifetime and ours.
Not what I expected when I picked up Ms. Peters book for a few hours of entertainment!
 
For those of you who are well versed in Ricardian lore this book will not be a source of education as it was for me but you just might enjoy the humorous and engaging read.
 

 

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