Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Constable (Constable & Robinson)
Release Date: April 2003
ISBN: 1841193828
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Historical Crime/Mystery [1602 London & Somerset, England]
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:

Alms For Oblivion
A Shakespearean Murder Mystery, No. 4
By Philip Gooden  

     The fourth book in this series about Nick Revill & Shakespeare's theater company, "The Chamberlain's Men," sees Nick confronted with his oldest boyhood friend, Peter Agate, the squire's son and heir from his village in Somerset. Peter has left behind a hot-eyed stepmother and has come to seek his fortune as an actor, hopefully with "The Chamberlain's Men." Before he can do more than try out for a part, he is dead--struck down by an unknown assailant and with Nick cast in the part of possible murderer. When two more murders follow suit, Nick ends up in jail and is likely to hang. Just when it all seems hopeless, he finds he has an unusual offer…

     Philip Gooden is not the only person to write about the theater in Shakespeare's time and it is just as well, as this is a perennially fascinating milieu to portray. Having Nick narrate the tale gives immediacy to the account, and it is full of the puns and bawdy language that the Elizabethans love, as well as some historical characters. Gooden has a great storyteller style, but as I commented in another review, I would like to get to know the other players better; everything else seems to get described in some detail, which is good, but there is still no clear picture of most of his fellow players, and this is a pity. Apart from this, Gooden has produced another easy read with a fast-moving inventive plot, appropriate humor and a fine feel for the period.

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