A Shakespearean murder mystery. The story is set at the time of Shakespeare in London. Sir Thomas Eliot was asleep in his hammock in his private walled orchard, a sleep from which he wouldn’t wake as his killer poured a poison into the ear of his recumbent form. A murder resembling the murder of Hamlet’s father in Master Shakespeare’s play. Our protagonist, Nick, is a player, acting with the Chamberlain’s men….actors now have the wonderful Globe Theatre in which to perform “We are no longer a bunch of tatterdemallions setting ourselves up on a wooden cart in some draughty inn-yard.” The son of the victim admires the actors and asks Nick Revell, an aspiring actor to seek out the truth of his father’s suspicious death. “But I’m just a player” says Nick over a beer in the Goat and Monkey, a favourite haunt of the players.
Nick is in an awkward position, his lover Nell, a whore from the country, inadvertently tipped a full jordan (chamberpot) over Nick’s landlady, rendering Nick homeless and susceptible to William Eliot’s offer of lodgings in return for some sleuthing.
The story conjurs up the atmosphere of late sixteenth century London, the dens of iniquity south of the river and the respectable folk north of the river linked by the service of a foul mouthed boatman. A smattering of archaic words are mixed in with the text, and William Shakespeare has a cameo role in the story. His famous play Hamlet is very much entwined with the murder mystery, the author is trying to be clever like his Shakespearean muse with plays within plays.
An enjoyable read, a knowledge of Hamlet may make it even more enjoyable.
My rating 4 out of 5