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Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, laid up in the hospital with a leg injury, has nothing to do each day except gaze at the portrait of King Richard III hung on his wall for decoration. Richard III, the last of the Plantagenet kings (white roses from the War of the Roses) has lived on in history as a villainous and conniving usurper, notorious for the disappearance and probable murder of his nephews. Grant decides to investigate the murder of the Princes in the Tower, sending nurses, friends, and colleagues to do historical research for a 500 year old case.
So, full disclosure, I was incredibly dubious about the premise of this book, because how interesting can it be to listen to characters talk about conducting historical research about a man who died in the 1400s? Well, as it turns out, it is so very, very interesting. Tey’s characters are well written but what really shines is a look at how history ‘written by the victor’ can have large-scale impacts over time. I learned so much about this period of time that occasionally I found it hard to remember that I was reading fiction, not nonfiction. Also, Tey made me care so much about the characters and the history that the first thing I did after finishing the book was to start conducting research of my own. This book was written in 1951 and occasionally shows its age (such as: the Inspector is laid up in the hospital for a couple of weeks over a broken leg). Nonetheless, it is a wonderful read.
Recommended by Andi