As a History and Anthropology graduate my interest was peaked with the discovery of ancient remains under a carpark in Leicester, United Kingdom thought to be those of King Richard III who died in the Battle of Bosworth. I had a great time in the Tower of London over 16 years ago, viewing the small area where the two princes were supposedly held captive and eventually murdered by Richard III.
Through the wonderful medium of twitter I saw a tweet that mentioned a fabulous detective story about the investigation of Richard III and his involvement in his nephews deaths. I favourited the tweet and started searching for the book in the library and around local secondhand bookstores. Searching, searching, searching… I didn’t have much luck, apart from all the other books purchased along the way! After a few weeks of searching I resorted to my trusty internet booksellers to find it.
It arrived crisp, clean and itching to be read. The media hype about Richard III had well and truly died down by the time I received the book in the post, apart from the tantalising information that a Documentary was being made about the archeological dig, discovery and facial reconstruction (gosh, I just love a good old facial reconstruction – especially ever since watching Gorky Park).
The premise of the story is simple and clever, it never really leaves the hospital room of Inspector Grant who is recovering from falling through a floor after pursuing a suspect (much to his humiliation). Grant is flat on his back with weeks of recouperation to look forward to and becoming increasingly desperately bored; he resorts to internally referring to his two regular nurses as The Midget and The Amazon, to keep himself amused.
He has regular visitors Mrs Tinker, in his employ who is experienced in and only too happy to assist him and his glamorous friend Marta who is in show business, who wafts in and brightens his days with smart conversation. I haven’t read any other books of Tey’s Grant character, but I suspect there may be more to the Marta relationship.
In trying to get him interested in something Marta finds out some interesting older cases from history to investigate, but none intrigue him until he sees the famous picture of Richard III. This sees Grant with the aid of a young American graduate who is in a relationship with one of Marta’s co-actors, but a little lost in London. They embark on a fabulous historical investigation of the murders of the two princes in the Tower and the guilt or innocence of Richard III.
I really enjoyed the detective aspect of this book, historical investigation is in a way detective work, searching for evidence that is contemporary, reliable and can tell the story objectively. The conclusion was very interesting and satisfying and surprisingly complimentary to the picture that is formed of Richard from the archeological dig in February 2013. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who might love a bit of Plantagenet intrigue.