A Fine Madness: A Christopher Marlowe Murder Mystery

Alan Judd. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-64313-911-1
Why was Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe fatally stabbed in an English inn in 1593? That enduring puzzle gets new answers in this taut thriller from Judd (the Charles Thoroughgood series), framed as an account by Thomas Phelippes, a friend of Marlowe’s and a fellow intelligencer, in response to questions from an unidentified interrogator while Phelippes is incarcerated in the Tower of London in 1623. Phelippes, whose reliability is uncertain given his desire to get himself freed, traces his history as an agent for Queen Elizabeth’s legendary spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, specializing in breaking codes and forging documents. He recruits Marlowe at Cambridge University to join Walsingham’s efforts to protect the queen from a variety of murderous conspirators. Superior prose is a plus (“Most of us are like fishes in the lives of others, a silvery flank glimpsed once and never seen again,” Phelippes says by way of explaining his lack of knowledge of an acquaintance). This clever recreation of a complex life stands above the many other fictional explanations for Marlowe’s death. Fans of Iain Pears will be engrossed. Agent: Pamela Malpas, Jennifer Lyons Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/23/2021
Release date: 02/01/2022
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-63808-241-5
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