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Royal Whodunnits: Tales of Right Royal Murder and Mystery Paperback – February 22, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf; 1st Carroll & Graf ed edition (February 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786706341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786706341
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.3 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #904,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Royal blood runs very red, as witnessed by this solid collection of 25 original short stories concerning royal beheadings, disappearances and murders. While most of the selections are fully fanciful, a few deal with historical conundrums. Amy Myers's "The Happy Man," for example, offers an alternative vision of the fate of the two young sons of Edward IV, whom Shakespeare imagined were killed on the orders of Richard III. Among the more clever tales is Susanna Gregory's "The White Ship Murders," in which the Earl of Gloucester unearths the true character of Henry I's only legitimate son while investigating his death in a suspicious shipwreck. The prolific Edward Marston contributes "Perfect Shadows," a superb story about the possible end of deposed 14th-century King Edward II. "Neither Pity, Love nor Fear" by Margaret Frazer presents a twist on the death of King Henry VI in the Tower of London. And, in a rare departure from British royalty, Morgan Llywelyn gives the famous case of Russian Princess Anastasia a new solution in her "Woman in a Wheelchair." Several tales feature the wily monarchs themselves as detectives: Elizabeth I sleuths along with Walter Raleigh in Robert Franks's "A Secret Murder," as does a youthful Queen Victoria in Stephen Baxter's "The Modern Cyrano." Other engaging stories feature detecting by Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare. While not quite royal fareAa few tales are thin or poorly constructedAthis book should satisfy most mystery fans' palates.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A mammoth collection of 25 new stories (from the editor, naturally, of The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures, 1998, etc.) that implicate virtually every important monarch of England and Scotland (with brief forays into Cesare Borgia's Italy, Princess Anastasia's Russia, and the Bohemia of Good King Wenceslas), from Macbeth (Peter Tremayne) to Edward VIII (Richard A. Lupoff), in murder. A few fortunate monarchs, like Stephen Baxter's Victoria, get to play detective; the involvement of others is less savory, or less safe. The contributors are drawn largely from the ranks of British SF/fantasy writers: those most likely to be known to Americans include Susanna Gregory (Henry I), Edward Marston (Edward II), Derek Wilson (Henry VIII), Edward D. Hoch (Napoleon Bonaparte), and Martin Edwards (George IV). Few of the stories impress as tales of mystery or suspense, but many of them risewith a professional panacheto the challenge posed by the known facts of history. And they do go far to restore your faith in the US government. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Having read this for a reading group, I found no one in the group who felt disappointed in ROYAL WHODUNNITS.
Brenda
Four because none of these stories was a "great", that I will always want to go back to, but almost all of them were very good and interesting.
Elizabeth A. Root
Popular--and good--writers contribute, from Edward Marston to Peter Tremayne to Susanna Gregory to Margaret Frazer, to name but four.
Billy J. Hobbs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Root on April 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am not a big fan of short story anthologies. I usually find a few that I enjoy, and equal number that I loathe, most that are enjoyable enough ways to pass the time, and, if I'm lucky, one really great story that makes the purchase worthwhile.

I was torn between giving this 4 and 5 stars. Four because none of these stories was a "great", that I will always want to go back to, but almost all of them were very good and interesting. There were none that I thought were truly bad. On this basis, I am going to give Mike Ashley's other anthologies a try.

The stories move over something like a thousand years in time, and I enjoyed the constantly changing times, places and people. They range from almost gruesome to very funny. Not being a historian, I cannot say how accurate they all were, but the ambience was generally very well evoked.

One comment as a matter of taste. Many of the stories are very cynical, which is actually quite appropriate, given the royal subjects. Mysteries usually concern themselves justice, but don't count on it here!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Billy J. Hobbs VINE VOICE on November 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
In his introduction to this collection, Paul Doherty writes that " a number of (the British) monarchs have met highly suspicious deaths, or disappeared under mysterious circumstances" and then proceeds to give some delectable morsels of royal intrigue, mayhem, and murder. In "Royal Whodunnits" Ashley has brought together 25 "tales" of this nature in an intriguing compendium, to say the least. Popular--and good--writers contribute, from Edward Marston to Peter Tremayne to Susanna Gregory to Margaret Frazer, to name but four. Of course, the collection is fiction--and should be read as so--but intriguing, exciting, and suspenseful nevertheless. The subjects range from Richard II, William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, the Princes in the Tower, Edward II, and Henry VIII, again to name a few. Anglophiles--and even others, if there are any!--will find this a good read! (Billyjhobbs@tyler.net)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bookjunkiereviews on October 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This set of royalty-based mysteries also include a bit of alternate reality, notably in the deaths of the Princes in the Tower (Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York) and the Grand Duchess Anastasia. I found the stories that were based on earlier royalty (such as Macbeth and his wife Gruoch, a descendant of the older dynasty) rather more interesting. By comparison, the alternate-reality sketches of some famous royal crimes seemed rather iffy. I don't read historical mysteries to get "what-if" scenarios, but rather to get valid and soundly constructed mysteries. [I am rather interested in medieval royalty. Add to that the fact, that I don't like Edward IV nor Henry VII nor Henry VIII!]. I hoped that the less-known mysteries in the lives of some major and minor royal personages would have been discussed, such as "Did Anne of Austria really fall for Buckingham? And what exactly was her relationship with Richelieu?" or "Why did Mary Queen of Scots behave as she did at critical points in her life?" And so forth. Of course, stories using these as plots should also be based on solid historical evidence. That is what makes them historical, not alternate reality.
While there were several stories, some better than others, this anthology therefore failed to satisfy me on several levels. For one, some of the stories simply were not very interesting. Others offended my sense of history (as well as my sense of logic, whatever I posses). Still others struck me as rather unrealistic solutions. On the whole, I cannot recommend this collection; it was not a waste of my time, but I had expected a rather different style.
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