Book Tour Review: Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle

Monday, June 9, 2014
Title: Murder by Misrule
Author: Anna Castle
Genre: mystery, historical fiction
Series: Francis Bacon Mystery #1
Pages: 350
Published: June 8 2014
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3/5

Francis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray's Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon's powerful uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man's legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss — and in danger — until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.

An inventive new historical mystery, Anna Castle's foray into the scheme-filled world of power and politics with her first Francis Bacon mystery is sure to please fans of both genres. Murder by Misrule is by turns engaging, amusing, thrilling, and exciting. It's a well-plotted mystery that boasts a cast that is just as well defined; one that is easy to get involved in but hard to solve. The book comes in at just about 350 pages and it took nearly all of them for me to figure out the villain at the heart of it all.

Using the viewpoints of both real (Francis Bacon) and imagined people (Tom Clarady, etc.), Castle shares the narration of the story out amongst her cast. The story can feel a bit diluted with all the different perspectives, but each narrator does bring something new to the story. Clara, for example. seemed at first a random addition but her importance to the story is uncovered in due time. The third person POV feels pretty removed from the story despite whoever is telling it and it becomes easy to distinguish Tom from Francis or Caspar easily.

I did struggle a bit with the writing at times. Castle has an even hand for characterization, setting, and plot but the dialogue used can be dry and a tad... obvious. It's a minor issue in the midst of everything one well, but the stiff manner in which the characters think and interact was a bit off-putting for me.I also have to mention the awesome twist Castle unveils three-quarters into the novel --- it was wholly a surprise, but Castle both hints at it and sells it once the cards are on the table.

The first in a series, Anna Castle's debut is a tautly plotted, creatively managed mystery. The historical element works well for both her writing and her characters. The research put into the story is obvious and is reflected in so much of the narrative. If you're looking for something along the lines of C.W. Gortner's Spymaster Chronicles series, then you'll likely find Murder by Misrule to be a good fit for your reading tastes.

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Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, June 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Mari Reads

Tuesday, June 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, June 4
Book Blast at The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Thursday, June 5
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den

Friday, June 6
Review at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at A Dream Within a Dream

Saturday, June 7
Book Blast at Kelsey’s Book Corner

Sunday, June 8
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 9
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, June 10
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy

Wednesday, June 11
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse

Thursday, June 12
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Friday, June 13
Book Blast at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Monday, June 16
Book Blast at Closed the Cover
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Tuesday, June 17
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day
Book Blast at A Book Geek

Wednesday, June 18
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, June 19
Review at Bibliotica
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession

Friday, June 20
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Interview at All Things Girl

Saturday, June 21
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Monday, June 23
Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, June 24
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, June 25
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, June 26
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, June 27
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, June 30
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Starting Fresh

Wednesday, July 2
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner

Thursday, July 3
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Guest Post & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please

Friday, July 4
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

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