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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Digging This One Up in Time

Please excuse the terrible punning in the title, but it was all that sprung to mind. The "re-discovery" of Josephine Tey's book in recent times has been met with mixed feelings on my behalf. I say mixed because although the work is very original and interesting, it seemed to disappear for a while. Now, with the huge resurgence of interest in Richard III due to the exhumation of his body under a Leicester carpark and his reburial at Leicester Cathedral with all the pomp he wasn't granted 500 years ago, Tey's book is now popular once again. It's a case of geeky "So now you want to read the book" from me. It defies the conventional and cynical belief that historical retrospective detective novels need to be balanced with physical adventure, best exemplified by the truly awful "Da Vinci Code". However, at the risk of spoiling the novel's conclusion I am not in favour of its conclusion and firmly in the corner of historian, Alison Weir (not to mention Winston Churchill and my old English teacher!) I recommend Weir's excellent primary source examination of the case of the murder of the children, Edward V and Richard Duke of York, which I bought as "The Princes in the Tower" and has since been republished as "Richard III and the Princes in the Tower". Nevertheless, it still stands as a great work of fiction and an exercise in historical research albeit with a faulty premise and foregone conclusion derived from the hero's first impressions taken from a portrait.