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Royal Whodunnits Paperback – 25 Feb 1999

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson (25 Feb. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185487893X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854878939
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,447,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The fashion for historical detection and for celebrity sleuths and victims is nothing new; what is perhaps new is the assiduity with which editors like Mike Ashley leave no possible avenue unexplored ... In this anthology, the deaths of kings are entertainingly dissected--we learn the truth about the demise of William the Conqueror, William Rufus and Princess Caroline of Brunswick. Rulers ranging from Macbeth to Victoria get their hands dirty with the details of crime and other celebrities from Shakespeare to Napoleon get to walk on and take a bow. Perhaps the most interesting stories are those which either look at attitudes to monarchy--Tom Holt's "Accidental Death" is a particular case in point--or those which make proper use of the limited technologies available to their killers and detectives--Tina and Tony Rath's "Who Killed Fair Rosamund?" makes neat use of a minstrel going over the old story in an attempt to work out the story logic for a ballad. And some of the stories, notably Paul Barnett's "Two Dead Men" with its picture of the interlocking psychoses of the courtiers of Mary Queen of Scots, interestingly move into the psychological thriller in which the puzzle is less interesting than the question "Why?" --Roz Kaveney

About the Author

Mike Ashley is the author and editor of over sixty books including the bestselling Mammoths Comic Fantasy, Seriously Comic Fantasy and Fantasy, and the crime-fiction collections The Mammoth Book of Locked Room Mysteries, The Mammoth Book of Roman Whodunnits and The Mammoth Book of Historical Whodunnits.

He lives in Chatham, Kent.

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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!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lots of different stories. I have a lot of Whodunnit anthologies and they tend to be repetitive, but had not read any of these before.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not very compelling... 23 Oct. 2001
By bookjunkiereviews - Published on Amazon.com
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusually high quality anthology 14 April 2006
By Elizabeth A. Root - Published on Amazon.com
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!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A royal collection of great intrigue! 4 Nov. 2000
By Billy J. Hobbs - Published on Amazon.com
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)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfu, rich read 19 July 2000
By Brenda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
25 stories involving two favorite subjects mysteries and the royal family.
Authors are: M.G. Owen, Peter Tremayne, Mary Reed & Eric Mayer, Tom Holt, Susanna Gregory, Tina & Tony Rath, Liz Holiday, Mary Monica Pulver, Renee Vink, Jean Davidson, Edward Marston, Cherith Baldry, Margaret Frazer, Amy Myers, Claire Griffen, Derek Wilson, Paul Barnett, Robert Franks, Andrew Lane, John T. Aquino, Edward D. Hoch, Martin Edwards, Stephen Baxter, Richard A. Lupoff, Morgan Llywelyn.
Having read this for a reading group, I found no one in the group who felt disappointed in ROYAL WHODUNNITS. Each writer has a voice of his/her own. Each mystery involves a member of the royal family. I was impressed with the knot-tying concept in The Snow of Saint Stephen by M.G. Owen. My favorite was Night's Black Agents by Peter Tremayne - the ending made me gasp. You will find another Mary Reed - Eric Mayer's short story in here also. Their character John the Eunuch, who made his debut in HISTORICAL WHODUNNITS, and now has his own mystery series.
The historical aspects in this anthology are rich and impressive. It's so detailed that reading it in one sitting will be impossible; expect to carry it around and enjoy it for a while. You will get your money's worth with Royal Whodunnits.
2.0 out of 5 stars Who cares whodunnit? 10 July 2001
By Bob Jarvis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is neither fish nor fowl! The stories are all short, predominantly silly & far from suspenseful. As far as writing whodunnits is concerned, Agatha Christie has nothing to worry about. History, it definitely is not! Whilst the authors do try to draw circumstances from true history, the links & threads in these stories are pathetically fanciful, bordering on the preposterous. There isn't a single story that gripped me or, in writing this review, is worthy of a positive mention. This book is neither history nor mystery. If you want either, or both, you can certainly do better than this.
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