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King Arthur's Bones by The Medieval Murderers Book Summary:
1191. During excavation work at Glastonbury Abbey, an ancient leaden cross is discovered buried several feet below ground. Inscribed on the cross are the words: Hic iacet sepultus inclitus rex arturius... Here lies buried the renowned King Arthur. Beneath the cross are skeletal remains. Could these really be the remains of the legendary King Arthur and his queen, Guinevere? As the monks debate the implications of this extraordinary discovery, the bones disappear - spirited away by the mysterious Guardians, determined to keep the king's remains safe until the ancient legend is fulfilled and Arthur returns to protect his country in the hour of its greatest need. A missing right hand. A gang of ruthless bodysnatchers. Brother accused of killing brother. As the secret of the bones' hiding place is passed from generation to generation, those entrusted to safeguard Arthur's remains must withstand treachery, theft, blackmail and murder in order to keep the legend intact.
Wainewright the Poisoner by Andrew Motion Book Summary:
Andrew Motion brings all his lyricism and inventiveness to bear in this fictional autobiography of the great swindler, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright. A painter, writer, and friend of Blake, Byron, and Keats, Wainewright was almost certainly a murderer. When he died in a penal colony in Tasmania, he left behind fragments of documents and a beguiling legend which Motion uses to create an imagined confession laced with facts, telling the story as no straightforward history could. "Thomas Griffiths Wainewright is a dream subject for either novelist or biographer. . . . Andrew Motion, Britain's poet laureate, clearly felt that neither straight biography nor pure fiction would do Wainewright's complexities justice, and so he combined the two genres. The result is stunning. The central voice is that of Wainewright himself, reflecting back on his life. After each chapter Mr. Motion has added detailed notes that inform and flesh out the narrative, giving not only his own informed opinion of Wainewright's actions but also those of Wainewright's contemporaries and the scholars and writers who have studied him over the past two centuries."—Lucy Moore, Washington Times "Brilliantly innovative, gripping, intricately researched, Motion's biography does justice to its subject at last."—John Carey, The Sunday Times "Engaging and convincing. . . . The trajectory of this character-from neglected and resentful child to arrogant and envious London dandy to sociopathic murderer on to an enfeebled, frightened prisoner-is indelibly imagined and drawn."—Edmund White, Financial Times "[A] fascinating look at an evil artist, a charmer still having his way with us. We can hear him being economical with the truth, telling us and himself just what he wants to hear."—Michael Olmert, New Jersey Star Ledger "Motion crafts a fascinating tale as complex and compelling as if Wainewright himself had written it."—Michael Spinella, Booklist "Did he kill his servant, and possibly others as well? . . . The footnotes seem to say yes, but Wainewright adamantly argues his own case. Motion's prose is flawless, and Wainewright's voice is convincing. But in the long run, it's this ambiguity that makes Wainewright the Poisoner a fascinating and memorable read."—R.V. Schelde, Sacramento News and Review "Who could as for a better Romantic villain than Thomas Griffiths Wainewright? . . . [The book] succeeds on many levels: as an act of ventriloquism, a work of scholarship, a psychological study, as a set of sharp portraits of famous men and an engrossing read. . . ."—Polly Shulman, Newsday "Instead of a straightforward biography, Andrew Motion gives us Wainewright's first person, fictionalized "confession."—a document as circumspect, slyly reticent, and oeaginously smooth as the man himself. Splendid."—John Banville, Literary Review "A genuine tour de force, and on a non-fictional level, a telling portrait of a strange, intriguing and repellant man."—Brian Fallon, Irish Times "A marvelous literary hybrid that totters with one foot in the world of nonfiction, the other in the land of make-believe. One is alternatively swept up in Motion's dizzy imaginative pastiche, or sent crashing into a dusty stack of scholarly cogitations. . . ."—Philadelphia Inquirer "As true a portrait of a liar as its subject could wish. Rich and strange. . . ."—Glasgow Herald
The Westminster review [afterw.] The London and Westminster review [afterw.] The Westminster review [afterw.] The Westminster and foreign quarterly review [afterw.] The Westminster review [ed. by sir J. Bowring and other]. by sir John Bowring Book Summary:
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The Body in the Thames by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
Thomas Chaloner is part of a delegation attempting to secure a peace settlement between Holland and England when negotiations are interrupted by the discovery of the murdered body of his brother-in-law and Chaloner suspects that someone in London to trying to ensure that the talks fail.
A Conspiracy Of Violence by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
Susanna Gregory, author of the Matthew Bartholomew series of medieval mysteries, has created another compelling fictional detective set in Restoration London. -------------------------------------------- The first adventure in the Thomas Chaloner series. The dour days of Cromwell are over. Charles II is well established at White Hall Palace, his mistress at hand in rooms over the Holbein bridge, the heads of some of the regicides on public display. London seethes with new energy, freed from the strictures of the Protectorate, but many of its inhabitants have lost their livelihoods. One is Thomas Chaloner, a reluctant spy for the feared Secretary of State, John Thurloe, and now returned from Holland in desperate need of employment. His erstwhile boss, knowing he has many enemies at court, recommends Thomas to Lord Clarendon, but in return demands that Thomas keep him informed of any plot against him. But what Thomas discovers is that Thurloe had sent another ex-employee to White Hall and he is dead, supposedly murdered by footpads near the Thames. Chaloner volunteers to investigate his killing: instead he is dispatched to the Tower to unearth the gold buried by the last Governor. He discovers not treasure, but evidence that greed and self-interest are uppermost in men's minds whoever is in power, and that his life has no value to either side. 'Pungent with historical detail' (Irish Times) 'A richly imagined world of colourful medieval society and irresistible monkish sleuthing' (Good Book Guide) 'Corpses a-plenty, exciting action sequences and a satisfying ending' (Mystery People)
The Sanctuary Murders by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
The twenty-fourth chronicle of Matthew Bartholomew. In 1360 Edward III issues a call to arms, as sporadic attacks by the French threaten to turn into a full-blown invasion. In Cambridge, fear of the enemy is magnified by the belief that foreign agents are lurking in the area. Tension runs ever higher as rumours and ignorance fan the flames of suspicion amid preparations for war. And then the first murder occurs - of a French scholar living in the town. At Michaelhouse, Brother Michael is now Master, but his reach of power in the University is under threat by the election of a new Chancellor and his cohort of dubious advisors. Soon, the Colleges begin to squabble amongst themselves, as well as with the town that never wanted a University in the first place. Amidst this atmosphere of swelling distrust, physician Matthew Bartholomew is called upon to investigate mysterious deaths in a nearby hospital. He quickly realises that there is something odd about the inmates and their keepers - something dark and deadly, which seems to be connected to the growing number of murders in the town. Pressure mounts as the University and the town clamour for answers, leading Bartholomew and Michael in a frantic quest for a solution before the powder-keg of animosity in Cambridge is ignited. 'A first-rate treat for mystery lovers' (Historical Novels Review) 'Susanna Gregory has an extraordinary ability to conjure up a strong sense of time and place' (Choice)
Blood On The Strand by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
Rebellion is in the air of London in the spring of 1663. Thomas Chaloner, spy for the King's intelligence service, has just returned from thwarting a planned revolt in Dublin, but soon realises that England's capital is no haven of peace. He is ordered to investigate the shooting of a beggar during a royal procession. He soon learns the man is no vagrant, but someone with links to the powerful Company of Barber-Surgeons. He master, the Earl of Clarendon, is locked in a deadly feud with the Earl of Bristol, and an innocent man is about to be hanged in Newgate. Chaloner is embroiled in a desperate race against time to protect Clarendon, to discover the true identity of the beggar's murderer, and to save a blameless man from the executioner's noose.
Poison Mysteries in History, Romance and Crime by Charles John Samuel Thompson Book Summary:
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Book of the Sphinx by Willis Goth Regier Book Summary:
Sought, the Sphinx seems everywhere, whether the guardian of the pyramids on Egypt's Giza plateau or the beautiful man-eater with a deadly riddle, to be approached with awful caution. The Sphinx, that icon painted, sculpted, engraved, and exalted in poetry, fiction, and music, so impressed the philosopher Hegel that he pronounced the creature “the symbol of the symbolic itself.” With a wealth of illustrations, Book of the Sphinx confirms Hegel's lofty judgment, finding the Sphinx everywhere: in tragedies, paintings, opera, murder mysteries, brothels, bars, and advertisements. Pursuing the Sphinx through kaleidoscopic sightings and encyclopedic observations, Willis Goth Regier plumbs the symbol's mysteries, conducting the reader down ever more perplexing and intriguing paths. Wonderfully readable, his highly idiosyncratic tour of the ages and the arts leads at last to a conception of the Sphinx that embraces nothing less than all that is unknowable—proving once again that confronting a Sphinx is one of the most dangerous and exhilarating adventures of the imagination.
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain, tr. by C.D. Yonge by Matthaeus (Westmonasteriensis.) Book Summary:
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Poisonous Muse by Sara L. Crosby Book Summary:
According to Sara Crosby, the new popular ‘power of horror’—in writings by Poe and many others—gave American authors a new way of moving beyond beauty through the ‘poisonous muse.’ This new power corresponds to the vitalizing changes in Jacksonian America and brings with it a major change in US literary history. Her study of these changes in the US cultural scene is an incredibly engaging, vibrant narrative.
A Killer In Winter by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
As Christmas of 1354 approaches, the town is gripped by the worst blizzards in living memory. As physician of Michaelhouse, Matthew Bartholomew struggles to help the poorer citizens cope with freezing temperatures while his colleagues prepare for the festivities. The weather has trapped many travelers in the town, including Matthew's erstwhile love, Philippa. She and her wealthy husband, Walter, are invited to Michaelhouse for the main feast, and Matthew hopes their stay will be brief - but a man found dead in a nearby church turns out to be Walter's servant. And then events conspire to ensure that Walter will never leave Cambridge again...
The Butcher Of Smithfield by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
Susanna Gregory, author of the Matthew Bartholomew series of medieval mysteries, has created another compelling fictional detective set in Restoration London. -------------------------------------------- The third adventure in the Thomas Chaloner series. Having just returned from a clandestine excursion to Spain and Portugal on behalf of the Queen, Thomas Chaloner finds London dank and grey under leaden skies. He finds many things changed, including the Government slapping a tax on printed newspapers. Handwritten news reports escape the duty, and the rivalry between the producers of the two conduits of news is the talk of the coffee houses with the battle to be first with any sort of intelligence escalating into violent rivalry. And it seems that a number of citizens who have eaten cucumbers have come to untimely deaths. It is such a death which Chaloner is despatched to investigate; that of a lawyer with links to 'the Butcher of Smithfield', a shady trader surrounded by a fearsome gang of thugs who terrorise the streets well beyond the confines of Smithfield market. Chaloner doesn't believe that either this death or the others are caused by a simple vegetable, but to prove his theory he has to untangle the devious means of how news is gathered and he has to put his personal safety aside as he tries to penetrate the rumour mill surrounding the Butcher of Smithfield and discover his real identity. 'Pungent with historical detail' (Irish Times) 'A richly imagined world of colourful medieval society and irresistible monkish sleuthing' (Good Book Guide) 'Corpses a-plenty, exciting action sequences and a satisfying ending' (Mystery People)
Intrigue in Covent Garden by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
By January 1666, the plague has almost disappeared from London, leaving its surviving population diminished and in poverty. The resentment against those who had fled to the country turns to outrage as the court and its followers return, their licentiousness undiminished. The death of a well-connected physician, the mysterious sinking of a man-of-war in the Thames and the disappearance of a popular courtier are causing concern to Thomas Chaloner's employer. When instructed to investigate them all, he is irritated that he is prevented from gaining intelligence on the military preparations of the Dutch. Then he discovers common threads in all the cases, which seem linked to those planning to set a match to the powder keg of rebellion in the city. Battling a ferocious winter storm that causes serious damage to London's fabric, Chaloner is in a race against time to prevent the weakened city from utter destruction.
Illustrated Life and Career of William Palmer, of Rugeley by William Palmer Book Summary:
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A Conspiracy of Violence by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
The dour days of Cromwell are over. Charles II is well established at White Hall Palace, his mistress at hand in rooms over the Holbein bridge, the heads of some of the regicides on public display. London seethes with new energy, freed from the strictures of the Protectorate, but many of its inhabitants have lost their livelihoods. One is Thomas Chaloner, a reluctant spy for the feared Secretary of State, John Thurloe, and now returned from Holland in desperate need of employment. His erstwhile boss, knowing he has many enemies at court, recommends Thomas to Lord Clarendon, but in return demands that Thomas keep him informed of any plot against him. But what Thomas discovers is that Thurloe had sent another ex-employee to White Hall and he is dead, supposedly murdered by footpads near the Thames. Chaloner volunteers to investigate his killing: instead he is despatched to the Tower to unearth the gold buried by the last Governor. He discovers not treasure, but evidence that greed and self-interest are uppermost in men's minds whoever is in power, and that his life has no value to either side.
Macready's Reminiscences and Selections from His Diaries and Letters by William Charles Macready Book Summary:
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Macready's Reminiscences, and selections from his diaries and letters. Edited by Sir F. Pollock, Bart by William Charles MACREADY Book Summary:
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Broken Token by Chris Nickson Book Summary:
Pickpockets, pimps and prostitutes: All in a day's work for the city constable - until work moves too close to home... When Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds, discovers his former housemaid murdered in a particularly sickening manner, his professional and personal lives move perilously close. Circumstances seem to conspire against him, and more murders follow. Soon the city fathers cast doubt on his capability, and he is forced to seek help from an unsavoury source. Not only does the murder investigation keep running into brick walls, and family problems offer an unwelcome distraction; he can't even track down a thief who has been a thorn in his side for months. When answers start to emerge, Nottingham gets more than he bargains for...
Poison Romance and Poison Mysteries by Charles John Samuel Thompson Book Summary:
The bushmen of the South African district "Kalahari," use the juice of the leaf beetle "diamphidia" and its larva for poisoning their arrow-heads. Lewin, who calls the beetle Diamphidia simplex, found in its body, besides inert fatty acids, a toxalbumin which causes paralysis, and finally death. According to Boehm, the poison from the larva also belongs to the toxalbumins, and Starke states, that it causes the dissolution of the colouring matter of the blood and produces inflammation. A halo of mystery, sometimes intermixed with romance, has hung about the dread word poison from very early times. In the dark days of mythology, allusions to mysterious poisons were made in legend and saga. Thus a country in the Far North was supposed to be ruled and dominated by sorcerers and kindred beings, all of whom were said to be children of the Sun. Here dwelt Æëtes, Perses, Hecate, Medea, and Circe. Hecate was the daughter of Perses and married to Æëtes, and their daughters were Medea and Circe. Æëtes and Perses were said to be brothers, and their country was afterwards supposed to be Colchis. To Hecate is ascribed the foundation of sorcery and the discovery of poisonous herbs. Her knowledge of magic and spells was supposed to be unequalled. She transmitted her power to Medea, whose wonderful exploits have been frequently described and depicted, and who by her magic arts subdued the dragon that guarded the golden fleece, and assisted Jason to perform his famous deeds. Hecate's garden is described by the poets as being enclosed in lofty walls with thrice-folding doors of ebony, which were guarded by terrible forms, and only those who bore the leavened rod of expiation and the concealed conciliatory offering could enter. Towering above was the temple of the dread sorceress, where the ghastly sacrifices were offered and all kinds of horrible spells worked. Medea was also learned in sorcery and an accomplished magician. It is related that, after her adventures with Jason, she returned with him to Thessaly. On their arrival they found Æson, the father of Jason, and Pelias, his uncle, who had usurped the throne, both old and decrepit. Medea was requested to exert her magical powers to make the old man young again, an operation she is said to have speedily performed by infusing the juice of certain potent plants into his veins.
The Piccadilly Plot by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
'Fans will be pleased to hear that Susanna Gregory has yet again hit on a winning formula of taking a likeable main character, involving him in a gripping plot and setting them within a commendably realistic setting. It is another bravura performance' - Historical Novels Review -------------------------- The seventh adventure in the Thomas Chaloner series. Thomas Chaloner is relieved to be summoned back to London. His master, the Earl of Clarendon, has sent him to Tangier to investigate a case of corruption. Chaloner will be glad to be home, to be reunited with his new wife, but the trivial reason for his recall exasperates him - the theft of material from the construction site of Clarendon's embarrassingly sumptuous new house just north of Piccadilly. Within hours of his return, Chaloner considers these thefts even more paltry as he is thrust into extra investigations involving threats of assassination, a stolen corpse and a scheme to frame the Queen for treason. Yet there are connections from them all which thread through the unfinished Clarendon House... 'Pungent with historical detail' (Irish Times) 'A richly imagined world of colourful medieval society and irresistible monkish sleuthing' (Good Book Guide) 'Corpses a-plenty, exciting action sequences and a satisfying ending' (Mystery People)
Some Notices of the Life of Henry, Lord Percy, Sixth Earl of Northumberland, and of the Parish Church of St. Augustine, Afterwards St. John at Hackney by Richard Simpson (of Lower Clapton.) Book Summary:
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Death in St James's Park by Susanna Gregory Book Summary:
Superspy of Restoration London, Thomas Chaloner foils an uprising in his eighth outing ------------------------------------- Five years after Charles II's triumphant return to London there is growing mistrust of his extravagant court and of corruption among his officials - and when a cart laden with gunpowder explodes outside the General Letter Office, it is immediately clear that such an act is more than an expression of outrage at the inefficiency of the postal service. As intelligencer to the Lord Chamberlain, Thomas Chaloner cannot understand why a man of known incompetence is put in charge of investigating the attack while he is diverted to make enquiries about the poisoning of birds in the King's aviary in St James's Park. Then human rather than avian victims are poisoned, and Chaloner knows he has to ignore his master's instructions and use his own considerable wits to defeat an enemy whose deadly tentacles reach into the very heart of the government: an enemy who has the power and expertise to destroy anyone who stands in the way ...
The Death of Oliver Cromwell by H.F. McMains Book Summary:
For centuries, rumors have circulated in England that Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell did not die of natural causes. Now, in a fascinating book that reads like a historical whodunit, we have a motive, a means, a murderer (complete with his own deathbed confession), and a supporting cast that includes John Milton and Andrew Marvell. Almost from the moment of Cromwell's death in 1658, writers and biographers have dismissed suspicions of foul play as little more than the result of a powerful person's unexpected demise. They have assumed that at age fifty-nine Cromwell was in generally poor health and that his government's collapse was inevitable. But his family was generally long-lived and, contrary to royalist wishes, his government was becoming established. As the crucial first step toward the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, his death proved to be a turning point in British history. In a wide-ranging investigation that draws upon the fields of history, toxicology, medical forensics, and literature, H.F. McMains offers a fresh reading of evidence that has sat quietly in libraries and archives for more than two centuries. He examines the development of Cromwell's illness in 1658, analyzes his symptoms, and evaluates persons with motive, method, and opportunity to do him harm. The result is a reassessment of Cromwell's relationship with the English people and their government and a convincing investigation of his mysterious death.
Mysteries of Police and Crime by Arthur George Frederick Griffiths Book Summary:
ÊIt may be said that society itself creates the crimes that most beset it. If the good things of life were more evenly distributed, if everyone had his rights, if there were no injustice, no oppression, there would be no attempts to readjust an unequal balance by violent or flagitious means. There is some force in this, but it is very far from covering the whole ground, and it cannot excuse many forms of crime. Crime, indeed, is the birthmark of humanity, a fatal inheritance known to the theologians as original sin. Crime, then, must be constantly present in the community, and every son of Adam may, under certain conditions, be drawn into it. To paraphrase a great saying, some achieve crime, some have it thrust upon them; but most of us (we may make the statement without subscribing to all the doctrines of the criminal anthropologists) are born to crime. The assertion is as old as the hills; it was echoed in the fervent cry of pious John Bradford when he pointed to the man led out to execution, ÒThere goes John Bradford but for the grace of God!Ó Criminals are manufactured both by social cross-purposes and by the domestic neglect which fosters the first fatal predisposition. ÒAssuredly external factors and circumstances count for much in the causation of crime,Ó says Maudsley. The preventive agencies are all the more necessary where heredity emphasises the universal natural tendency. The taint of crime is all the more potent in those whose parentage is evil. The germ is far more likely to flourish into baleful vitality if planted by congenital depravity. This is constantly seen with the offspring of criminals. But it is equally certain that the poison may be eradicated, the evil stamped out, if better influences supervene betimes. Even the most ardent supporters of the theory of the Òborn criminalÓ admit that this, as some think, imaginary monster, although possessing all the fatal characteristics, does not necessarily commit crime. The bias may be checked; it may lie latent through life unless called into activity by certain unexpected conditions of time and chance. An ingenious refinement of the old adage, ÒOpportunity makes the thief,Ó has been invented by an Italian scientist, Baron Garofalo, who declares that Òopportunity only reveals the thiefÓ; it does not create the predisposition, the latent thievish spirit.
The Elements of Murder by John Emsley Book Summary:
A fascinating account of the five most toxic elements describes the lethal chemical properties of arsenic, antimony, lead, mercury, and thallium, as well as their use in some of the most famous murder cases in history, with profiles of such deadly poisoners as Mary Ann Cotton, Michael Swango, and Saddam Hussein and a look at modern-day environmental catastrophes.
The Crowd by Gustave Le Bon Book Summary:
The following work is devoted to an account of the characteristics of crowds. Organized crowds have always played an important part in the life of peoples, but this part has never been of such moment as at present. The substitution of the unconscious action of crowds for the conscious activity of individuals is one of the principal characteristics of the present age. Crowds, doubtless, are always unconscious, but this very unconsciousness is perhaps one of the secrets of their strength. In the natural world beings exclusively governed by instinct accomplish acts whose marvelous complexity astounds us. Reason is an attribute of humanity of too recent date and still too imperfect to reveal to us the laws of the unconscious, and still more to take its place. The part played by the unconscious in all our acts is immense, and that played by reason very small.