Newest Review: ... seemingly peaceful death of his father, who was found dead in a hammock in his garden. However, his mother soon marries her brother in law... more
Shakespeare gets embrolied in a murder mystery
Sleep of Death - Philip Gooden
Member Name: darren55
Sleep of Death - Philip Gooden
Advantages: An enjoyable romp
Disadvantages: None really
The sleep of death is a murder mystery set in Shakespearean England; the book follows the plot of Shakespeare's Hamlet set in real-life Elizabethan England. The main character is Nicholas Revell, a player for the Lord Chamberlains men; Nick is a small time actor for the company whose main writer is one William Shakespeare. Nick is thrown out of his lodgings after an altercation with his landlady over a bedpan and has to seek alternate arrangements, when he thwarts the nefarious antics of a steward of a wealthy lady at the theatre her son asks him to lodge with them. The son also asks him to look into the seemingly peaceful death of his father, who was found dead in a hammock in his garden. However, his mother soon marries her brother in law and the similarities between the real life death and the death of Hamlets father becomes obvious.
I enjoy reading the Medieval murderers series of novels in which a distinguished British medieval murder author contributes a short novellas all with the same theme. Phillip Gooden often contributes a story featuring Nick Revell and the plays of Shakespeare in Elizabethan London, this was however, the first novel I'd read with Nick on his own so to speak. However, I wasn't disappointed the story was well thought out, the character of Nick likeable and interesting to read and the occasional use of Shakespeare as a character kept the story rolling along.
The reader knows from the very first page that there is a bit of mischief going on with the death of the gentleman in his garden but the truth is only slowly exposed. We are given all the essentials of the crime as Nick goes about questioning the servants, family members and others who were associated with the murdered man. There are further murders and soon Nick's life is in peril, however, we come to a fitting and well-constructed conclusion. The murderer is revealed and the characters of Nick, Shakespeare have been introduced to the reader.
I've always enjoyed medieval murder novels, the setting of an investigation in times well before any kind of analysis tools often leads to decent interesting stories about the times the people live in. The chance to spin a story around the writing of one of the most famous works of English literature ever was a fun bit of reading, we all know the story of the play and know how it pans out however the novel both does and doesn't follow the play in detail. Clever writing and clever use of real people like Shakespeare, Burbage, and the other members of the Chamberlains men all give a sense of realism as does the use of the play at the finale. All in all, a very enjoyable romp through Shakespeare's world and I will look forward to reading the next in the series.
Summary: An enjoyable tale