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Murder by Misrule

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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. Ri 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.


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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. Ri 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.

30 review for Murder by Misrule

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    3.5★ A lively & engaging tale, although the author did try to pack too much of her research into this tale - it was as though Ms Castle couldn't bear to waste a single fact! & the cast of characters was also a bit too large which made it hard for me to keep all the facts straight in my head. Even with the large ensemble it was still easy for me to guess the murderer. Still an entertaining, fast paced tale with a mixture of real life characters -like Francis Bacon hi 3.5★ A lively & engaging tale, although the author did try to pack too much of her research into this tale - it was as though Ms Castle couldn't bear to waste a single fact! & the cast of characters was also a bit too large which made it hard for me to keep all the facts straight in my head. Even with the large ensemble it was still easy for me to guess the murderer. Still an entertaining, fast paced tale with a mixture of real life characters -like Francis Bacon himself. I would have liked to have seen more of Mr Bacon, rather than his fictional sidekicks. & I would have liked this book to have kept more to the point. Fast paced & fun, so I may try another book in this series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Noe

    A book that began with wonderful potential petered into pure blah. We are presented with a murder right away, which was very promising. (I refuse to read books that take forever to get to the point.) The murder then becomes more intriguing and the story expands to include a plot to remove the sitting queen and replace her with the Catholic Queen Mary who is in prison at the time. Instead of delivering a tale of sweeping proportions, as you might expect, it gets dragged down by silly a A book that began with wonderful potential petered into pure blah. We are presented with a murder right away, which was very promising. (I refuse to read books that take forever to get to the point.) The murder then becomes more intriguing and the story expands to include a plot to remove the sitting queen and replace her with the Catholic Queen Mary who is in prison at the time. Instead of delivering a tale of sweeping proportions, as you might expect, it gets dragged down by silly accounts of young men seeking to be lawyers. From something that promised to be like the Three Musketeers, it unveils to be frat boys on the loose. Also, I don't know why the author put Francis Bacon in the title. He is rarely in the story, and when he is present, he is a cardboard figure saying lines. Bacon is supposed to be a genius but comes across inept and outdone by the real main character named Tom. Another thing that made the story crawl along for me was all the descriptions of people's clothes. Why do some authors think everyone wants to know how each and every person is dressed? Take a lesson from Jane Austen and just move the story along instead of bogging down with unnecessary details of clothing and rooms. When I first started the book, I thought, "Ah, a story that will make for enjoyable reading!", but alas, no. At the beginning, I felt like a person who was told they were going to a wonderful restaurant only to find out pretty quickly that we were going to McDonald's.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This was a free kindle book from Amazon, but I don't plan to read further in this series. I did not see it tagged for Young Adults, but the book seems to me to be written at that level. Everything is explained in detail, from the nod of a head to elaborate bows and court dress and no character is allowed independent thought or action without narrator interference and justifications - quite like hearing stage directions in ones ear. A murder takes place early on and Bacon is assigned (by his This was a free kindle book from Amazon, but I don't plan to read further in this series. I did not see it tagged for Young Adults, but the book seems to me to be written at that level. Everything is explained in detail, from the nod of a head to elaborate bows and court dress and no character is allowed independent thought or action without narrator interference and justifications - quite like hearing stage directions in ones ear. A murder takes place early on and Bacon is assigned (by his uncle) with finding who did it as a way to gain favor with Queen Elizabeth.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin Al-Mehairi

    Elizabethan life and times certainly make for all kinds of outstanding books as there seems to be a never-ending supply of ideas, intrigues, and mysteries from which to write historical novels or imaginate (yes, I made up a word) stories. I particularly like many of the mystery novels springing up based in this time period and Murder by Misrule, a book in Anna Castle’s Francis Bacon Mystery Series, is certainly one that can take a front row shelf. Castle debuts her writing with this f Elizabethan life and times certainly make for all kinds of outstanding books as there seems to be a never-ending supply of ideas, intrigues, and mysteries from which to write historical novels or imaginate (yes, I made up a word) stories. I particularly like many of the mystery novels springing up based in this time period and Murder by Misrule, a book in Anna Castle’s Francis Bacon Mystery Series, is certainly one that can take a front row shelf. Castle debuts her writing with this first mystery in an at least three-part series. Set in the mid-1500s, Sir Francis Bacon is keen on climbing the social ladder and regaining favor he had lost from the Queen (Queen Elizabeth I, of course). When a murder occurs, he senses this to be an opportunity to increase his value, but as someone who likes to remain home due to his backward personality (and since he needs time to read), he sends his law pupils out to solve the mystery, namely Tom Clarady, the son of a privateer. However, everyone it seems has their own agenda, every characters that Castle introduces their own intricate web they are weaving in order to get what they want, or cover up what they don’t want found. Everything and anything seems to have fallen asunder, especially since it is the time of misrule, when things are turned upside on purpose. I enjoyed Castle’s book, read it quickly during a nightly bout of non-sleeping, and was so entertained that I didn’t wish to fall asleep. Her writing is quick-witted and each character has a special quality and very precise personality that blends with the others to create a whole. Tom is at the center of it all, doing all the work for Francis. I suppose Tom’s even the protagonist in my mind. It’s like Holmes to Sherlock, I suppose, but reminds me more of if Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot had stayed in and sent out a side kick. I’ve enjoyed these types of English mysteries since I first read Agatha Christie as a teenager, then moved on to Sherlock Holmes, but Castle was able to create a novel that resembled this type of mystery while changing up the plot and structure so that it was also totally unique. Castle wove authentic historical people and facts into a historical mystery novel, creating a mystery with even more depth. She was able to cover the paranoia and social turmoil of this era as well within her plot so that she created a well-rounded, well-researched, well-plotted, and well-detailed novel that takes your mind back in time to decipher a puzzle for which she created twists, turns, and surprises. When I thought I’d have it figured out, then I wouldn’t. She did a great job with her element of surprise. I loved Castle’s humor and suspenseful writing. I highly recommend this book to any historical mystery reader or fans of the Elizabethan era of intrigue. If you like mysteries, you’ll love this one. I’m looking forward to the next book in her series. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can see all my reviews and interviews at www.hookofabook.wordpress.com.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... I have mixed feelings about Anna Castle's Murder by Misrule. On one hand I found it entertaining in an amusing sort of way, but on the other, I must admit the story didn't grab me the way I'd hoped it would. Castle's characters are a diverse collection of individuals. The socially awkward and disgraced Bacon, the rogue Tom Clarady, the pretentious Stephen Delabere, the stately Allen Trumpington and the earnest Benjamin Whitt make a well-rounded Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... I have mixed feelings about Anna Castle's Murder by Misrule. On one hand I found it entertaining in an amusing sort of way, but on the other, I must admit the story didn't grab me the way I'd hoped it would. Castle's characters are a diverse collection of individuals. The socially awkward and disgraced Bacon, the rogue Tom Clarady, the pretentious Stephen Delabere, the stately Allen Trumpington and the earnest Benjamin Whitt make a well-rounded team and though somewhat predictable, I found I enjoyed following their exploits. There are several scenes that boast great tension and intrigue, but that sense of suspense often waned between key points in the narrative. It isn't a bad story, but I think I might had appreciated it more if the momentum established in the early chapters had been maintained through the final page. A humorous tale, Murder by Misrule is brimming with levity and mirth. A lighter historical the book is sure to enchant those looking for airy and upbeat fiction.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    Why wouldn’t the man known to have used the inductive reasoning for his scientific method solve crimes in his spare times? Presumably that’s the premise behind this book, the first in series. For me it was very much a middle of the road read. I enjoy historical fiction and mysteries, naturally seems like the intersection of both would be oodles of fun. This isn’t even my first historical mystery, but the thing is it appears that nearly all of them are series and series I don’t care for, all that Why wouldn’t the man known to have used the inductive reasoning for his scientific method solve crimes in his spare times? Presumably that’s the premise behind this book, the first in series. For me it was very much a middle of the road read. I enjoy historical fiction and mysteries, naturally seems like the intersection of both would be oodles of fun. This isn’t even my first historical mystery, but the thing is it appears that nearly all of them are series and series I don’t care for, all that commitment and predictability. Anyway, this one is set in 1586, when after displeasing Elizabeth I with his impudence, Frank (why not go for the familiar) is staying below the radar until he’s given a murder to solve and then another and another. Being a logical man, he delegates a good chunk of the crime solving to his mentees, young students of law, very much concerned with the sort of thing most youngsters are concerned with irrespective of the day and age. And yet, finding time away from various romances and excessive grooming and preening, crimes do get solved…over the festive time referred to as Misrule. The man with the plan here is presented as a slight, clever and gay, which might have been the case, he did protest too much in his New Atlantis after all. There are also some real historical personage making appearances throughout the book, but it is largely fictitious, with the author even manipulating the well known facts to fit within the narrative. The result is a very light sort of read, even despite the darkness of English winter and matter of murders. Nearly as much time spent on sartorial discussions as in on the famed induction. Everyone’s dressed for success and rides off into the sunset gaily, until the next adventure. Which I’m not too tempted to look for after reading this, but there must be a market for out there. Now if someone wrote a book about Francis the Delicious and Rosicrucianism, something dark and occulty and twisted…that would have been really interesting. This was a mild diversion, easy entertainment and not much more. The substance all pleated and ruched and gauzy much like the elaborate outfits of the day. For a Kindle freebie it was decent enough.

  7. 4 out of 5

    edifanob

    This is an entertaining medieval historical mystery with loveable characters, profound historical background, scenes to smile and an interesting plot. It is "lighter" in tone compared to The Secret World of Christoval Alvarez set in the same period of time. Looking forward to read the next book in the series - Death by Disputation - to be published in December 2014.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    3.5 stars. "Murder by Misrule" is the first book in a new historical mystery series that has Francis Bacon as the protagonist and chief mystery solver. Yes, that Francis Bacon as in the famous English statesman and philosopher. This is a wholly original series that got off to a pretty good start! Taking place in the Elizabethan age, this book has a seriously interesting setting. When the book opens, our hero, Bacon, is trying to gain the favor of the powers that be, namely that of the 3.5 stars. "Murder by Misrule" is the first book in a new historical mystery series that has Francis Bacon as the protagonist and chief mystery solver. Yes, that Francis Bacon as in the famous English statesman and philosopher. This is a wholly original series that got off to a pretty good start! Taking place in the Elizabethan age, this book has a seriously interesting setting. When the book opens, our hero, Bacon, is trying to gain the favor of the powers that be, namely that of the lovely Queen. Bacon knows he wants to climb that ladder but isn't sure that he really wants to put himself out there. In a lot of ways, he really is a reluctant hero, but really that made it a little more interesting to me that he was not all that interested in making waves. The transition between where he was at the beginning of the book and where he was by the end of the book was really interesting to witness. Overall the story was pretty good. I loved the setting and I loved how Castle was able to weave a lot of historical figures and details together to really show the reader what Bacon's world might have been like. There were parts of the book that I thought could have been slimmed down a little bit. I also wanted to know more about the ending but it's hard to put down my thoughts on that part without knowing what awaits readers in the subsequent books!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I’m always up for an elaborate crime thriller and an historical one to boot. Funny thing is, as I was waiting for this book in the mail, I kept on thinking this was going to be a Victorian one! *laughing* I’ve been on a Victorian era kick lately and I guess that is why….and wow was I surprised when I started reading the story! The premise intrigued me and the colorful cast of characters amused me. They all played an integrate part in the story, even the minor roles. It was entertainin I’m always up for an elaborate crime thriller and an historical one to boot. Funny thing is, as I was waiting for this book in the mail, I kept on thinking this was going to be a Victorian one! *laughing* I’ve been on a Victorian era kick lately and I guess that is why….and wow was I surprised when I started reading the story! The premise intrigued me and the colorful cast of characters amused me. They all played an integrate part in the story, even the minor roles. It was entertaining seeing how they interacted together solving the crime and I really developed a fondness for Tom Clarady. There were a lot of great scenes that grabbed my attention and a few in between that didn’t so much, I would have liked the momentum of the story to have been a little stronger. That is what I want in a mystery thriller. I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the story and learned a lot about Gray’s Inn….and Frances Bacon in how he must have been. And there is more to the story than meets the eye and leaves the readers imagination to explore that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Sharpnack

    I had high hopes for this mystery featuring Francis Bacon. There wasn’t enough Francis Bacon, but we got introduced to a group of law students whom he mentored instead. It ends up mostly about Tom, the son of a pirate who wants to turn Tom into a gentleman, so he sends him to the Inns of Court. One of the major lawyers gets murdered and solving his murder, plus the next two, occupies the minds of Mr. Bacon and his protégés. They are trying to do this while preparing the festivities for the Inn t I had high hopes for this mystery featuring Francis Bacon. There wasn’t enough Francis Bacon, but we got introduced to a group of law students whom he mentored instead. It ends up mostly about Tom, the son of a pirate who wants to turn Tom into a gentleman, so he sends him to the Inns of Court. One of the major lawyers gets murdered and solving his murder, plus the next two, occupies the minds of Mr. Bacon and his protégés. They are trying to do this while preparing the festivities for the Inn to celebrate the Christmas season. This really doesn’t mesh together well, and I still don’t really understand how we got to the discovery of the murderer. Basically, one of the students had an “AHA!” moment about his Uncle. Personalities change inexplicably, really messing up the plot line for me. Throw in a sudden infatuation that goes Cold, and I was just left confused.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard Sutton

    Few historic figures in the letters, sciences and statesmanship measure up to Tudor England's Francis Bacon. While not tall of stature, he rose like a giant among his peers and many of his findings and discoveries endure today. His reputation has always amazed and intimidated me as someone unreachable for the power of his intellect, but fortunately there are authors like Anna Castle, who can shed some light on the person behind the legend. Turns out, in Ms. Castle's novel, we become acquainted w Few historic figures in the letters, sciences and statesmanship measure up to Tudor England's Francis Bacon. While not tall of stature, he rose like a giant among his peers and many of his findings and discoveries endure today. His reputation has always amazed and intimidated me as someone unreachable for the power of his intellect, but fortunately there are authors like Anna Castle, who can shed some light on the person behind the legend. Turns out, in Ms. Castle's novel, we become acquainted with Francis Bacon when he was a young man, struggling to find a place in the heavily class-layered society of Tudor England. In some ways his intellect became a liability. He was too smart for his own good, and too young to receive the accolades due him. In this story, we find him in law school, applying what later will become his principles of empiricism, to a strange murder of a colleague during a festival period. The story follows a twisting path that puts him to the test and we find where he came to his conclusions. Missed clues abound, and the witnesses may or may not be keeping some facts close. The book also reveals that even in those times, it was possible for a young man of modest birth to find recognition for his skills at the Bench and at Court. Ms. Castle introduces us to a core of school friends coming from very different backgrounds and the good humor, jokes and cheer are evident throughout. This was a satisfying, entertaining read that I recommend to anyone who enjoys engaging historical fiction!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    This is an excellent mystery featuring historical figures Christopher Marlow and Francis Bacon. Francis Bacon dispatches Tom, an "intelligencer", to identify the leader of a group of Puritans so the guilty ringleader can be arrested for sedition. Unfortunately this is not the only crime committed and Tom's life is on the line as he works to help identify the guilty man and preserve innocent others.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Awallens

    Great start to a series This book was so fun. It was almost like the mystery was secondary. It was good, and the way they unmasked the killer was entertaining, but the thing I like the most about this mystery was the characters, setting, and atmosphere. I will definitely be getting the next in the series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Allyn Nichols

    Jolly good fun While there are some things which need a little tweak ( author notified ) this is a fun tale and highly recommended for any fan of historical fiction. Looking forward to more in this series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I really enjoyed this book - cleverly set in history, delightful characters, complex mystery, and educated writing. I will read more of these!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amber Foxx

    Elizabethan England comes to life in this colorful, tightly plotted murder mystery. It follows the classic conventions of the genre creatively. When the plot takes a surprise turn—it’s a big surprise. The characters are three-dimensional and original. The middle-class working women give depth to what could have been told as a man’s story and still worked well enough. The young lawyers-in-training are complex, lively characters, and their tutor Francis Bacon is the perfect historical personage to Elizabethan England comes to life in this colorful, tightly plotted murder mystery. It follows the classic conventions of the genre creatively. When the plot takes a surprise turn—it’s a big surprise. The characters are three-dimensional and original. The middle-class working women give depth to what could have been told as a man’s story and still worked well enough. The young lawyers-in-training are complex, lively characters, and their tutor Francis Bacon is the perfect historical personage to cast as a detective, with his knowledge of law, his scientific thinking, and his strong, somewhat quirky personality. It was fascinating to meet the great thinker at twenty-five years of age, early in his career. Anna Castle did her research. Her dialog feels true to the times without being stilted or archaic. She portrays the clothing, the social customs, the law, law school and the manners of the queen’s court, as well as the details of life for the working people, without being pedantic, integrating the details into active, suspenseful scenes. I double-checked the one thing I thought might be an anachronism—a song—and found that it actually is that old. I should have trusted her. An author this good wouldn’t mess up a little thing like that. From the brightest and wittiest scenes to the darkest, every page rings true. The dances and the masque and the scenery were wonderful. The scenes in Newgate prison were grimly accurate. If you’ve ever doubted that an indie book could be as polished as a traditionally published work, give Murder by Misrule a try. I think it could change your mind. This review also appears on http://everwhereindies.wordpress.com, a book blog dedicated to the work of indies who publish everywhere.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Miller (True Book Addict)

    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 h 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!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I am a massive fan of Sir Francis Bacon, having read many of his essays. So when I spotted this book, combining Francis Bacon with a murder mystery, I immedietely knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed. There are far too many characters to keep track of. Bacon himself is often in the background of the investigation, leaving the footwork to his assistant Tom and several of Tom’s friends (Ben, Stephen, Trumpet…there may be more, but I don’t remember, because heaven knows t I am a massive fan of Sir Francis Bacon, having read many of his essays. So when I spotted this book, combining Francis Bacon with a murder mystery, I immedietely knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed. There are far too many characters to keep track of. Bacon himself is often in the background of the investigation, leaving the footwork to his assistant Tom and several of Tom’s friends (Ben, Stephen, Trumpet…there may be more, but I don’t remember, because heaven knows they blend together completely). These university boys bumble through the entire story, not really solving the crime and usually stumbling over useful information at random. The murder itself was interesting (the murder of a lawyer being stabbed ferociously in the streets of London), but as the story progressed I felt as if the mystery divulged into a bland adventure story with little rising action. There was some interesting historical details in the book, which was the only part I actually enjoyed, but the story and characters itself were entirely uninteresting to me. Full review on my blog: https://madamewriterblog.com/2019/04/...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lise

    It's a fun piece, and though Anna Castle clearly did the research, she also clearly wrote this with modern sensibilities in mind. There are some very strong female characters here, some of whom are historical personages, some are plausible enough, and one who seems to be put in for reader identification and romantic interest. The homosexual romance, however, seems to be at least somewhat organic. The detective work seems to be done by Bacon and the students who he is tutoring rather t It's a fun piece, and though Anna Castle clearly did the research, she also clearly wrote this with modern sensibilities in mind. There are some very strong female characters here, some of whom are historical personages, some are plausible enough, and one who seems to be put in for reader identification and romantic interest. The homosexual romance, however, seems to be at least somewhat organic. The detective work seems to be done by Bacon and the students who he is tutoring rather than by Bacon himself. They're a likeable bunch, and it's a fun read. I expect to be picking up the others eventually.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Calenmarwen

    Straightforward murder mystery. Easy read. Fairly well written. Starts well, with very intriguing ideas, and good introduction of characters. However, about half way through several minor plot points emerged concerning the supporting characters that came completely out of nowhere and to no particular purpose. Also by the end of the book, the possible suspects had been gone over so many times, it was rather obvious who the murder had to be.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews)

    Twisty mystery with some interesting characters, if a few too many POVs for my taste. Review to come on the blog.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rosanne Lortz

    Francis Bacon has been banished from Queen Elizabeth's court. To restore himself to favor, he agrees to help his uncle identify the murderer wreaking havoc on the barristers at Gray's Inn. But even with the help of his riotous young law students, Tom, Stephen, Trumpet, and Ben, this mystery might prove more than a match for the brilliant Mr. Bacon. Anna Castle is adept at creating the atmosphere of Elizabethan society. Both historical characters and fictional characters come alive in Francis Bacon has been banished from Queen Elizabeth's court. To restore himself to favor, he agrees to help his uncle identify the murderer wreaking havoc on the barristers at Gray's Inn. But even with the help of his riotous young law students, Tom, Stephen, Trumpet, and Ben, this mystery might prove more than a match for the brilliant Mr. Bacon. Anna Castle is adept at creating the atmosphere of Elizabethan society. Both historical characters and fictional characters come alive in the bedrooms and common rooms of Gray's Inn, one of the four Inns of Court to which barristers and those studying Law must belong. I particularly enjoyed Thomas Clarady, the son of a privateer who gained access to Bacon as his tutor when his father shrewdly offered to pay Bacon's debts. Tom spends his time drinking wine, brawling in the streets, and crafting verses to sing beneath his beloved's window--but when inductive logic is required, his wits are quicker than many might suppose. The "Misrule" in the title refers to the season of joyful pranks just prior to Christmas where the Lord of Misrule prepares festivities for the holiday.  I began this book in a friend's car, listening to about a quarter of the audio version while we were carpooling home from a weekend retreat. After that, I had to resort to reading the rest on Kindle on my own. The prose has a literary luster to it, and Anna Castle's turns of phrase and figures of speech frequently make one laugh aloud, or at least smirk quietly into one's imaginary ruff. For exmple, Tom thinks of Law French as: "a deranged, unreadable mishmash of Old French and Latin with the odd lump of English bobbing up like uncooked fat in a sour stew." One drawback of this book is that the mystery itself left something to be desired. Also, a few of the attitudes of the characters toward the end of the book seemed to relect modern sensibilities more than the sensibilities of the time. But despite this, the atmosphere, characterization, and prose was a feast for the eyes and the ears. This is my first Francis Bacon mystery, but I have also enjoyed Anna Castle's Professor and Mrs. Moriarty series.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    “Murder by Misrule” earns 5+/5 Royal Nods…Clever and Engaging! History meets mystery…it was a fortuitous accident that I happened upon Anna Castle’s Francis Bacon series. I greatly enjoy having history tweaked into a fictional mystery adding an air of realism, and going back to sixteenth century England was absolutely entertaining. I loved being enveloped by the vivid description of the environment, the clothing, the people, the language, and offering an interesting investigative style…no crime “Murder by Misrule” earns 5+/5 Royal Nods…Clever and Engaging! History meets mystery…it was a fortuitous accident that I happened upon Anna Castle’s Francis Bacon series. I greatly enjoy having history tweaked into a fictional mystery adding an air of realism, and going back to sixteenth century England was absolutely entertaining. I loved being enveloped by the vivid description of the environment, the clothing, the people, the language, and offering an interesting investigative style…no crime scene photos, DNA, or computers to rely on. I agree with one interpretation that the series is much like the Nero Wolfe franchise in that Bacon is not the active character being left behind to use his deductive reasoning to solve murders. I was prepared to have the fictional Thomas Clarady, delightfully the son of a privateer, as the active one in the partnership using his street-wise attitude to track down evidence, interrogate witness and suspects, and report back to Bacon. Anna’s Sir Francis Bacon has fallen out of favor with Queen Elizabeth I, which often can mean more than an angry “tweet.” It can figuratively or, sadly, literally mean a death sentence. So Bacon finds solving murders as a way to regain status among those at court. It is the season of Misrule (a fascinating topic to explore) and a barrister (lawyer to you and me) ends up dead (Karma in the age of Elizabeth I?), and the different suspects and motives made this a real page-turning read. I suggest first-timers read the “Historical Notes” as a prelude; it was helpful for context. I highly recommend this book, and I'm moving on to the other novels as well as short stories written in the age of Bacon.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chazzi

    Francis Bacon is currently out of favour with Queen Elizabeth. In a bid to get back in her favour he is given the task of finding the murderer of a fellow barrister at London's Gray's Inn. Bacon is not the best in social situations (can we say awkward?) so he enlists the help of four of his pupils: Tom Clarady, sent to Gray's by his privateer father in hopes of becoming a gentleman; Allen Trumpington, a smallist person with a few secrets of his own; Benjamine Whitt, the intelligent and studious Francis Bacon is currently out of favour with Queen Elizabeth. In a bid to get back in her favour he is given the task of finding the murderer of a fellow barrister at London's Gray's Inn. Bacon is not the best in social situations (can we say awkward?) so he enlists the help of four of his pupils: Tom Clarady, sent to Gray's by his privateer father in hopes of becoming a gentleman; Allen Trumpington, a smallist person with a few secrets of his own; Benjamine Whitt, the intelligent and studious one; Stephen Delabere; the pompous, highborn, egotistica one. The four each have their strengths, weaknesses and priorities. Clarady sees a beauty watching from an upper window and promptly falls in love. He thinks she may have seen something of the murder, so uses this as an excuse to search for her. Taking direction from Bacon, the foursome search in high society and low society to find clues to the murder and the reason for it. While the search is on going there is also the question of who and why other barristers and jockeying to take over the dead man's position. There is also the question of whether there was help from the Catholic faction and it may have a political slant. The characters personalities are enjoyable. The are times where it is tense and then there are the humourous times between the characters and their relationships. At times they work together and then they work against each other. It all makes for a good read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mercedes Rochelle

    In my mind, any book that can make me forget I’m on the treadmill gets my vote! And that’s what happened to me while reading Murder by Misrule. This book moves along so quickly that I lost track of time. Although the novel is about the Elizabethan Francis Bacon, who is well into his career in law but must solve a murder to get back into his uncle's—and the queen’s—good graces, some of the secondary characters steal the show. But that’s ok; there’s enough interest to go around. Francis has the br In my mind, any book that can make me forget I’m on the treadmill gets my vote! And that’s what happened to me while reading Murder by Misrule. This book moves along so quickly that I lost track of time. Although the novel is about the Elizabethan Francis Bacon, who is well into his career in law but must solve a murder to get back into his uncle's—and the queen’s—good graces, some of the secondary characters steal the show. But that’s ok; there’s enough interest to go around. Francis has the brains and cleverness to solve the mystery, but he is impatient to move on to other things and delegates the snooping around to the youngsters he is tutoring. One of them, Tom Clarady, is more than willing to chase down the lovely portraitist who presumably witnessed the original murder, but he nearly gets the poor girl killed in the process. Francis almost gets himself killed as well, which is when he decided to solve the murder, which had grown into multiple killings. It’s all very clever and sets the stage for a lively series. Mysteries are not my forté, but I had no problem sinking my teeth into this one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Mock

    Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle Sir Francis Bacon is entrusted to solve the murder of a fellow Gray's Inn Barrister, Tobias Smythson. He recruits the help of Mr. Smythson's first-year law students: Thomas Clarady, Allen Trumpington, Stephen Delabere, and Benjamin Whitt -- whom he decides to take as his apprentices. There is a witness, Clara Goossens, but she comes with a foreign accent and many mysteries that Tom -- who falls for her -- has a hard time deciphering. As a second, then Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle Sir Francis Bacon is entrusted to solve the murder of a fellow Gray's Inn Barrister, Tobias Smythson. He recruits the help of Mr. Smythson's first-year law students: Thomas Clarady, Allen Trumpington, Stephen Delabere, and Benjamin Whitt -- whom he decides to take as his apprentices. There is a witness, Clara Goossens, but she comes with a foreign accent and many mysteries that Tom -- who falls for her -- has a hard time deciphering. As a second, then a third murder occurs, the plot thickens and the suspicion is entangled with Catholic conspiracies in Elizabethan 16th century England. Time is running out and Mr. Bacon must solve the murder before he becomes the next victim. The prose is attempted to be narrated from the third person point of view, but the author is not successful in her attempt. So we get confused and sometimes bored at her prolonged narrative. I enjoyed the Elizabethan storyline but wished someone would have helped her with the editing.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Nineteen-year-old Tom Clarady has been sent by his uncle, Francis Bacon, to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, to gather intelligence on the secretive radical Puritans who are threatening upheaval in England. When an instructor allegedly hangs himself, Tom speculates that a murderer is among them, but who? Set in 1587, Murder by Misrule is a methodical look at crime detection as it used to be. Tom’s brave, resourceful, and determined, but also inexperienced, so mistakes are made. I lo Nineteen-year-old Tom Clarady has been sent by his uncle, Francis Bacon, to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, to gather intelligence on the secretive radical Puritans who are threatening upheaval in England. When an instructor allegedly hangs himself, Tom speculates that a murderer is among them, but who? Set in 1587, Murder by Misrule is a methodical look at crime detection as it used to be. Tom’s brave, resourceful, and determined, but also inexperienced, so mistakes are made. I love that the author incorporates real-life characters like Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe into the plot. She also does a great job of weaving bits of information about different lifestyles and religious beliefs throughout the story. While I understand the need for methodical detail, I found the book a little too slow-moving, although I’m sure that avid readers of historical fiction will disagree. If you love mysteries about academic life in the Elizabethan period, then you’ll really enjoy this one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scot

    An Elizabethan murder mystery. Ostensibly, the main character is Sir Francis Bacon, but actually the investigation and action largely centers around a group of law students he mentors, four different and well developed characters that make for interesting interactions among themselves and with other characters, some based on actual historical figures. I appreciated the social history worked in, and I learned a lot about how the law school system worked then. There are murders accumulating, and i An Elizabethan murder mystery. Ostensibly, the main character is Sir Francis Bacon, but actually the investigation and action largely centers around a group of law students he mentors, four different and well developed characters that make for interesting interactions among themselves and with other characters, some based on actual historical figures. I appreciated the social history worked in, and I learned a lot about how the law school system worked then. There are murders accumulating, and it seems to be tied to a Papist plot against the Queen. This is the initial book that sets a framework for more to follow, and it culminates with a masque at the Christmas celebration where high stakes performances with double entendres (written by ever clever Bacon) might reveal the killer and trigger a response. The alpha of the four students is Tom, son of a privateer and quite the dashing rapscallion of a hero. A fun read!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael Mcqueen

    I love novels with an historic background. I also do most of my fiction reading while working out daily on an elliptical, so I need something that will lessen the pain and boredom of going nowhere fast. So I look for something that seems historically credible (my degree is in biology, so I'm no expert in history or lit), that is interesting enough to keep me wanting to exercise the next day, and that doesn't leave me regretting that I picked up the book. So having said all that, Ms Castle's book I love novels with an historic background. I also do most of my fiction reading while working out daily on an elliptical, so I need something that will lessen the pain and boredom of going nowhere fast. So I look for something that seems historically credible (my degree is in biology, so I'm no expert in history or lit), that is interesting enough to keep me wanting to exercise the next day, and that doesn't leave me regretting that I picked up the book. So having said all that, Ms Castle's book covered the basics and more. I looked forward to getting back to the gym to see what was happening. I liked the characters, and was even inspired to do a little background check on Francis Bacon since my knowledge was limited to his work on the scientific method. And while I picked up the book cheap on Book-Bub (I don't remember whether it was a free-bee or $.99), I am looking forward to reading more in the series. Thanks Anna for the good diversion!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Felisha Caldeira

    I truly enjoyed this book to the fullest. What a wonderful Historical Fiction that keep you on your toes with mystery, had you laughing out loud with witty writing ,and had you fully engrossed in the lives of the characters author Anna Castle developed. I looked forward to listening to this book every chance I got. I will without a doubt be looking for more of Anna's works. Narrator Joel Froomkin was superb. He had a smooth and careful narration with a knack for keeping the listener e I truly enjoyed this book to the fullest. What a wonderful Historical Fiction that keep you on your toes with mystery, had you laughing out loud with witty writing ,and had you fully engrossed in the lives of the characters author Anna Castle developed. I looked forward to listening to this book every chance I got. I will without a doubt be looking for more of Anna's works. Narrator Joel Froomkin was superb. He had a smooth and careful narration with a knack for keeping the listener engaged. I appreciated his ability to stay true to the heightened language but not go over the top. I would love to listen to more of his work. Overall, a wonderful book. I would recommend it to all. This audiobook was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

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