4th October 2012
Autumn has arrived. I am always fascinated by the date, 21st September, not just because it’s my birthday but that’s the date Edward II was allegedly murdered at Berkeley Castle by his wife Isabella, Queen of England about whom I wrote my doctorate. Such a date ushers in the days of Misty Murder. I have finished ‘The Last of Days’, a novel about the dying embers of Henry VIII’s reign. I thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing it. I am more and more convinced that he was a truly murderous soul who was just getting into his stride. Strange, for all Henry’s pomp and glory, there is hardly a tomb to him just a slab of concrete in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Cursed in life and cursed in death! Apparently they used the same vault to inter the remains of Charles I. They found Henry’s coffin cracked and a Cromwellian soldier tried to steal a bone for a dagger hilt.
Of course I have entered fresh meadows of murder. I am busy researching and writing a novel called ‘The Roseblood’ the first of a trilogy, set in London at the beginning of the War of the Roses. Reading about the great families who became locked in a vicious life and death struggle the Tudors, the Beauforts, the Nevilles etc, reminds me of the Mafia, each faction struggling for supremacy. This gory tale of murder and intrigue, of betrayal and battle is seen through the eyes of one London family. Interesting where this can lead you; I didn’t realise that leprosy was truly a living death in the Middle Ages or that the English occupation of northern France after 1415 was actually much worse than the Nazi occupation in 1940. I use the savagery of the English warbands, nicknamed “Les Ecorcheur – Flayers” to develop a theme of well plotted and bloody revenge culminating in the Battle of St Albans (May 1455), the first clash between York and Lancaster which ushered in the War of the Roses. Interesting, all the Lancastrian commanders sheltered in a tavern on St Albans High Street and a most murderous and intriguing scenario developed…………. Ah well, more of that next time!
My kindest regards to all readers and may your journeys into murder and mystery be both thrilling and thought provoking.
Paul Doherty O.B.E.