- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Running Press (October 10, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786709162
- ISBN-13: 978-0786709168
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,211,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mammoth Book of More Historical Whodunnits Paperback – October 10, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the stories, notably "Flibbertigibbet", were actually quite chilling in their depiction of torture as routine, the ritualistic execution of a captured Jesuit priest, not to mention the corpses left in the wake of an early "Jack the Ripper". If you can get past the vivid depiction of the execution, I would strongly recommend that story as an exercise in moral ambiguities. There are other strong contributions, including one based on Hamlet (a perennial favorite, it seems) and yet another on Hamlet (two Shakespeare-based mysteries). Personally, I liked Michael Jecks's "The Crediton Killings" (set in medieval England) and the two stories from the late Roman republic the best.
I use historical anthologies such as this as a way to test what is out there. For example, an author may write very well, but the narrative may be too graphic for my comfort. Others may create a short story about a detective appearing in their books, such as Sister Fidelma (the creation of Peter Tremayne), or Gordianus (the creation of Steven Saylor). Yet others (Margaret Frazer, for example) use this as an opportunity to write about a slightly different period, and without using their most well-known fictional character.Read more ›
As a rule, stories in an anthology of this kind are arranged by location of story, or time-frame. The latter is the approach here, and that's fine. It's a perfectly valid method. However, considering that the 22 stories begin in ancient Rome and continue only until the very early 1600s, there is bound to be some overlapping of settings. The first five stories, for instance, all share the Roman setting. Then there are the dark ages, and a raft of early Medieval, up to about 1250 or so.
I found them all to be enjoyable, although some more so than others, and will certainly be looking for books by many of these authors, who impressed me with their plotting and characters, not to mention the obvious and extensive historical research. The two authors with whom I'm most familiar-Margaret Frazer and Michael Jecks-appear in the second half of the book. A treat for next time!