Thursday, July 3, 2014

HFVBT: Anna Castle's Murder by Misrule - Review and {Giveaway}

My thoughts
I love a good mystery. And what could be better than a mystery combined with one of my favorite historical eras, the Elizabethan age?! It takes a talent to write a great mystery and also adhere to historical detail and this author has done just that. I'm thoroughly impressed.

I've had mixed feelings on Francis Bacon, as I've read other books with him as a character or background figure and it seems the portrayals are not always favorable. However, I really liked him in this book and his apprentice, Thomas, was a refreshing addition to the story.

The mystery itself is labyrinthine and carries much suspense. It's rare for a historical novel to be "edge of the seat" reading. Don't get me wrong. Everyone knows I love historical fiction and it can be exciting, but when you add an element of suspense to the genre, it's even better. I'm thinking along the lines of C.W. Gortner's Spymaster Chronicles or Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death series. This book is a worthy addition to that type of series and this too is a planned series so I'm looking forward to reading Bacon's continuing adventures.

I'm recommending this book to anyone who loves mysteries. Don't let the historical fiction genre dissuade you. Even if you do not normally read historical fiction, you are going to want to read this one purely for the excellent mystery writing. The historical bits are just icing on the cake!

About the book
Publication Date: June 8, 2014
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

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A Kirkus Indie Books of the Month Selection for July.

Francis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray’s Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon’s powerful uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man’s legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss — and in danger — until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.

The Francis Bacon Mystery Series
This series of historical mysteries features the philosopher-statesman Francis Bacon as a sleuth and spymaster. Since Francis prefers the comfort of his own chambers, like his spiritual descendent Nero Wolfe, he sends his pupil, the handsome young Thomas Clarady, out to gather information. Tom loves the work, not least because he meets so many interesting people, like Lord Burghley, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Christopher Marlowe. Murder by Misrule is the first book in the series.

Praise for Murder by Misrule
“Though the plot keeps the pages turning, the characters, major and minor, and the well-wrought historical details will make readers want to linger in the 16th century. A laugh-out-loud mystery that will delight fans of the genre.” – Kirkus Starred Review

“Murder by Misrule is a delightful debut with characters that leap off the page, especially the brilliant if unwilling detective Francis Bacon and his street smart man Tom Clarady. Elizabeth Tudor rules, but Anna Castle triumphs.” – Karen Harper, author of Mistress Shakespeare

“Well-researched… Murder by Misrule is also enormously entertaining; a mystery shot through with a series of misadventures, misunderstandings,
and mendacity worthy of a Shakespearean comedy.” – M. Louisa Locke, author of Bloody Lessons

“Historical mystery readers take note: Murder by Misrule is a wonderful example of Elizabethan times brought to life.” — D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.

About the author
Anna Castle has been a waitress, software engineer, documentary linguist, college professor, and digital archivist. Historical fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas, and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.

For more information please visit Anna Castle’s website and blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #MurderbyMisruleBlogTour #HistNov #HistFic
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @annacastl

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of Murder by Misrule! (Open to U.S./Canada entries only)

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A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.


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  1. Love most type of historical fiction except for ones that have a lot of battle scenes...I have read too many great historical and mysteries to just pick out one...thanks Michelle!

  2. I love a good mystery. I'm a fan of Nancy Bileayu and CJ Samson so I'm sure thus would complement those authors nicely!

  3. Emma @ Words And PeaceJuly 3, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    thanks, sounds interesting. I was fascinated by Mozart's Last Aria, about who might have poisoned him, and weird stuff about the Masons and his last opera:

  4. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series by C. S. Harris. Historical mysteries are the best!

  5. My favorite historical mystery is the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear.

  6. I've been itching to read this ever since I read the glowing review in Kirkus...I cannot pick a favorite historical mystery as I have never considered the is a delightful genre combination, without question.

  7. The Brother Cadfael series and Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series

  8. Helena Philomena LiebekraftJuly 5, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    I love a good mystery, and I love historical fiction.
    Thanks for visiting us at Animal Anarchy.

  9. Emma @ Words And PeaceApril 22, 2015 at 6:51 PM

    I enjoyed a lot Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran, one of the best HF on the French Revolution, I think. thanks for the giveaway

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