A Murder OF CROWs
by P.F. Chisolm
Pub. by Poisoned Pen Press,
2010, 253 pages
A detective novel with a distinct flair. London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It was a loud, rowdy, stinking town of open sewers, disease, and the most rampant and egregious kind of crime and corruption imaginable. It’s a wonder the kingdom survived.
The corruption extended all the way up through the ranks into the Queen’s Court. The maneuvering for power, for the favor of the Queen, along with the necessary fending off of those courtiers who would supplant any Royal in the way of advancement was constant. For another look inside this society, read any of Shakespeare’s plays, especially the history plays and the tragedies.
This story occurs in 1592 and poet Will Shakespeare is a character here. It is six years before the building of the famous Globe Theater. The Queen’s Chamberlain is Lord Hunsdon. His son, Carey, also related to the Queen, of course, is a courtier with better than average intelligence. That’s a good thing because Carey is Deputy Warden, stationed in Carlisle, administering what passes for law enforcement in the north. Now, he’s in London with his main man, Land Sergeant Dodd, as dour a rural Scot as you’re ever likely to meet in the pages of Elizabethan literature. The byplay and internal dialogues between these two principal characters is priceless and vastly illuminating.
It would take entirely too many words to even summarize the plot of this delightful, fast-paced, complicated novel. It’s about power; who has it and who wants it. Never mind. The story is in the maneuvering, in the interactions between the characters and the lively descriptions of Elizabethan London.
“A Murder of Crows” is part of a series so readers new to this author have several other books to look forward to. Important history engagingly presented, nuanced characters, and a fine story. I am delighted to find this author and her excellent books and recommend them without hesitation.