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Much Ado About Murder Hardcover – December 3, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If it's true, as some wags have it, that there are only five plots in literature (and life), surely Shakespeare told them all. In Much Ado About Murder Anne Perry has rounded up 17 variations on his themes, in short stories that range in time and place from Jacobean London to the royal court of France, and from Plantagenet England to the Rome of Coriolanus. The authors of these carefully observed tales have already proven their talents in a host of more contemporary thrillers, although Perry herself is best known for her Victorian mysteries featuring William Monk, and Sharan Newman, a medieval historian, is comfortably at home in 12th-century France and late-Roman Britain. Aficionados of the Bard of Avon will find much to enjoy in this spirited collection, and even those with only a smattering of Shakespearean knowledge will find the themes timeless enough to ignore the authors' occasional anachronisms. --Jane Adams

About the Author

Anne Perry was born in Blackheath, London in 1938. From an early age, she enjoyed reading and two of her favorite authors were Lewis Carroll and Charles Kingsley. Her first novel was The Cater Street Hangman, which came out in 1979. Since then she has authored a number of bestselling titles including The Twisted Root, Half Moon Street, and Bedford Square.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1st edition (December 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425186504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425186503
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,811,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Bell on January 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kudos, applause, and a standing ovation for Anne Perry and this fantastic book of short stories. There are so many truly unique and amazing stories that it's hard to choose which is best. Some involve actual Shakespearean plots, including two of the funniest: Too Many Cooks, which is a hilarious take on Macbeth from the point of view of the three Weird Sisters, and The Fall of the House of Oldenbourg, which will assure that you never think of Hamlet the same way again. Those Are Pearls That Were His Eyes combines characters from The Tempest with Portia & her husband Bassanio of The Merchant of Venice as the most brilliant and beautiful Doctor of Laws solves a murder with Caliban as the accused. The beautiful Viola (disguised as Caesario disguised as Viola--shades of Victor/Victoria and Shakespeare in Love!) solves the murder of Olivia's brother in A Dish of Poison. Even two of the lesser known plays, Cymbeline and Measure for Measure feature in the stories. Some, like Anne Perry's excellent Ere I Killed Thee, deal with the players who perform these works. The bard himself appears in several of the stories, including Exit, Followed. . .and All the World's a Stage, and his death is investigated in The Serpent's Tooth. And Richard's Children can only be described as chilling. I wish that there had been stories based on Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Midsummer's Night's Dream, but perhaps there will be a volume 2. One can only hope. This is a fantastic book for mystery lovers and for Shakespeare lovers, but heaven for those who, like myself, love them both. Buy it, read it, and recommend it to your friends!
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Format: Hardcover
Much Ado About Murder is a collection of seventeen mystery stories stiched together by the common thread of Shakespeare's plays. All were written especially for this anthology edited by Anne Perry. Some put new twists on characters or plots lifted from the plays while others are about the actors performing the plays or about the Bard himself.
In the former category, Marcia Talley tells a humorous tale starring the three witches from Macbeth. In the title story, Kathy Lynn Emerson transports Beatrice and Benedict from Padua to Bloody Mary's England for an adventure. Lillian Stewart Carl has Twlth Night's Duke Orsini send Viola/Cesario to Olivia's castle as a spy rather than an intermediary. Posing as a kitchen maid, she solves the poisoning of Olivia's brother. The Tempest, Henry V and VI, Hamlet, and Anthony and Cleopatra serve as launch pads for other writers' imaginings.
In the latter category, my favorite is P C Doherty's The Sperpent's Tooth which offers an interesting answer to the puzzle of Shakespeare's death and his epitaph. Also enjoyable is Peter Tremayne's Elizabethan sleuth, Master Hardy Drew, solving the murder of an actor in the first production of Henry V. Perry herself contributes a mystery set in a Victorian production of Othello.
The only story that seems out of place is Richard's Children by Brendan DuBois. It's connection to Richard III is tenuous and the plot belongs with the likes of Robert Ludlum.
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By A Customer on December 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
All seventeen tales in this enchanting mystery collection depicts the world is an Elizabethan stage. Well known genre writers fill the anthology with strong sounds and fury making for an entertaining time for the spectators, but several are particularly excellent plays on Shakespeare's works leading to a quality rarely seen in a short story collection. The best stories are those that follow the Tom Stoppard approach (see Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead) by employing characters and allusions from the Bard's works with a twist like placing protagonists into a legal thriller or changing the focus of whom is the star. Except perhaps soliloquies of heresy from English literature professors or a complaint from the Dark Lady, MUCH ADO ABOUT MURDER is much ado about entertainment as Will is modernized by a genre crowd that pays homage to the great one in an all's well anthology.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good anthology of various mysteries, many but not all involving murders. All are somehow related to Shakespeare's plays. Some involve the characters and settings of the plays, some involve actors putting on plays, and so forth.

The anthology is not a brilliant collection of dazzling works but it is very enjoyable and certainly worthy of being re-read. I enjoyed it.
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