The Murders of Richard III (Jacqueline Kirby Series #2)

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When attractive American Jacqueline Kirby is invited to an English country mansion for a weekend costume affair, she expects only one mystery. Since the hosts and guests are all fanatic devotees of King Richard III, they hope to clear his name of the 500-year-old accusation that he killed the little princes in the Tower of London.
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The Murders of Richard III (Jacqueline Kirby Series #2)

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When attractive American Jacqueline Kirby is invited to an English country mansion for a weekend costume affair, she expects only one mystery. Since the hosts and guests are all fanatic devotees of King Richard III, they hope to clear his name of the 500-year-old accusation that he killed the little princes in the Tower of London.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A mixture of American and British characters fill this living room style mystery in which a joker's increasingly dangerous pranks parallel the more interesting historical events of the era of Richard III and the two princes in the tower. Though Carmen Lynne Williamson's awkward rendering of the American accents detracts from the listener's ability to identify with the intelligent, independent character Jacqueline Kirby, one still enjoys Peters's (The Last Camel Died at Noon, Audio Reviews, LJ 5/15/92) easy humor. History buffs will enjoy the author's grasp of the details and suppositions of this medieval period.Danielle D'Ottavio Harned, San Francisco
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060597191
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/27/2004
  • Series: Jacqueline Kirby Series, #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Peters

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. She was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.


Neither the Great Depression nor the lack of a public library in her small hometown of Canton, Illinois, deterred Barbara Mertz (the future Elizabeth Peters) from becoming an avid reader. Yet, when her family moved to a suburb of Chicago, she was elated to discover the riches contained in the town's local library and proceeded to devour every book she could get her hands on. She began writing in high school; but by that time she had already decided to become an archaeologist.

Mertz received a scholarship to the University of Chicago, which boasted a world-famous Egyptology department. Her mother, an eminently practical soul, encouraged her daughter to become a teacher; but after taking only two education courses, Mertz knew a career in the classroom was not for her. Determined to follow her dream, she moved over to the university's Oriental Institute, and received her Ph.D. in Egyptology at the age of 23.

The post-WWII job market wasn't kind to women in general, much less to women seeking careers in archaeology. Mertz married and began a family, but never lost sight of her life's ambition. While she was raising her two children, she decided to try her hand at writing. Her first few attempts were never published, but they did land her an agent; and in 1964 she published her first book, Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt.

Mertz authored two additional works on archaeology before foraying into fiction in 1966. The Master of Blacktower is the first of several gothic suspense novels written under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels. (In her biography, she explains that the use of pseudonyms helps readers to distinguish various types of books written by a single author.) The supernatural elements in the thrillers penned under the Michaels name have kept readers on the edge of their seats for decades.

In the 1970s, Mertz began writing under her second, more famous pseudonym, Elizabeth Peters. As Peters, she has authored books in three different series. Beginning in 1972 with The Seventh Sinner (1972), the first series features a glamorous librarian-turned-romance novelist named Jacqueline Kirby (the final Jacqueline Kirby mystery, Naked Once More, won a coveted Agatha Award in 1989). The second series, starring American art historian Vicky Bliss, debuted in 1973 with Borrower of the Night (Vicky's last outing was 2008's Laughter of Dead Kings). Then, in 1975, Peters introduced her most famous protagonist, archeologist/sleuth Amelia Peabody, in a dandy adventure entitled Crocodile on the Sandbank.

From the first, readers loved Amelia, a plucky Victorian feminist who—together with her husband, the distinguished Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerston—has gone on to solve countless mysteries in the Middle East. Peabody fans received an extra treat in 2003 with Amelia Peabody's Egypt: A Compendium to Her Journals, a nonfiction stroll through ancient Egypt that included nearly 600 photographs and illustrations, plus expert academic articles.

In addition to her three series, Mertz has written several standalone suspense novels as Elizabeth Peters. She has this to say about her successful, prolific career: "The craft of writing delights me. It is impossible to attain perfection; there is always something more to be learned—figuring out new techniques of plotting or characterization, struggling with recalcitrant sentences until I force them to approximate my meaning. And nothing is ever wasted. Everything one sees and hears, everything one learns, can be used."

Good To Know

The pseudonym Elizabeth Peters is taken from her two children, Elizabeth and Peter. She uses three pseudonyms so readers can tell the difference between the three types of books she writes: nonfiction archaeology as Barbara Mertz, supernatural thrillers as Barbara Michaels and historical mysteries as Peters. For the record, Mertz has called the pseudonyms "a horrible nuisance."
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    1. Also Known As:
      Barbara Mertz, Barbara Michaels
    2. Hometown:
      A farm in rural Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 29, 1927
    2. Place of Birth:
      Canton, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      August 8, 2013

Read an Excerpt

The Murders of Richard III

By Elizabeth Peters

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Elizabeth Peters
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060597194

Chapter One

The portrait was that of a man. Recent cleaning had brought out the richness of the colors: a background of smoldering scarlet, the crimson of rubies in the jeweled collar and hat brooch, the gold threads in the undertunic displayed by open collar and slashed sleeves. Yet the overall impression was sober to the point of grimness. Shoulder--length brown hair framed the man's spare face. It was not the face of a young man, although the subject had been barely thirty years of age when it was painted. Lines bracketed the tight--set mouth and made deep vertical indentations between the narrowed eyes, which were focused, not on the beholder, but on some inner vision. Whatever his thoughts, they had not been pleasant ones.

The portrait had an odd effect on some people. Thomas Carter was one of them. He had seen it innumerable times; indeed, he could summon up those features in memory more clearly than he could those of his own father, who was enjoying an acrimonious eighth decade in Peoria, Illinois. Thomas could not explain the near--hypnotic spell cast by the painted features, but he sincerely hoped they were having the same effect on his companion. He had private reasons for wanting Jacqueline Kirby to develop an interest in Richard III, quondam king of England, who had met a messy death on the field of battle almost five hundred years earlier.

Thomashad not changed a great deal since the day he and Jacqueline had first met, at the eastern university where Jacqueline was employed at one of the libraries. He had acquired a few more silver threads, but they blended with his fair hair. His baggy blue sweater tactfully concealed a slight tendency toward embonpoint. Thomas was a fair golfer and a good tennis player; but he was also an amateur chef, and this latter hobby left its marks on his figure. The blue sweater and the shabby tweeds were British made, but Thomas was not, although he was presently lecturing at one of England's oldest universities.

His prolonged bachelordom had given rise to predictable rumors. Thomas knew of the rumors and did not resent them; indeed, he encouraged them by his abnormal reticence about his personal affairs. Although he would have denied the charge indignantly, he was a rather old--fashioned man who believed that gentlemen do not boast of their conquests. He also found his reputation a useful tactical weapon. It reassured the ladies and put them off guard.

Neither this device nor any other had aided Thomas's campaign with Jacqueline. He had begun his pursuit the first day he saw her ensconced behind the desk in the library, glowering impartially on all comers from behind her heavy glasses. Thomas noted the emerald--green eyes behind the glasses, and the rich coppery bronze of the hair pinned back in a severe knot. He even judged, with fair accuracy, the figure under the tailored wool suit. The job offer from England ended the campaign before it had fairly begun. However, he and Jacqueline had become friends, and Thomas appreciated Jacqueline's quick unorthodox mind and weird sense of humor as much as he did her other attributes. When Jacqueline wrote him that she was spending part of the summer in England, he had replied enthusiastically, offering his services as guide to the glories of London. He had not, at that time, had ulterior motives. The motives had arisen in the interim, and had directed them to the place where they presently stood. The National Portrait Gallery, though one of London's accepted tourist "sights," was not high on Jacqueline's list of things to see. Thomas glanced at her uneasily. If she resented his arbitrary choice she would say so, in no mellow tones.

Jacqueline was regarding the portrait with a fixed stare. Her horn--rimmed glasses rode high on her nose, but she had left the rest of her tailored working costume at home. She wore a short, clinging dress of her favorite green; the short sleeves and plunging neckline displayed an admirable tan. Tendrils of bronze hair curled over her ears and temples. Without turning her head, she spoke. The voice could not by any stretch of the imagination be called mellow.

"The Tower of London," she said. "Westminster Abbey. Buckingham Palace. I'm just a little country girl who has never been abroad. What am I doing here? I want to see the Changing of the Guard. I want to have tea, a real English tea, in a real London tea shop. I want--"

"You just had lunch," Thomas said indignantly. "At Simpson's on the Strand. You had an enormous lunch. Don't you gain weight?"

Instead of replying, Jacqueline let her eyes drift sideways. They focused on Thomas's midriff. Reflexively Thomas sucked in his breath, and Jacqueline went on with her mournful monologue.

"I don't even mind looking at portraits. Eliza--beth the First, Charles the Second . . . I adore Charles the Second. He was a very sexy man. I could contemplate Keats and Byron and Shelley without resentment. And what do I get? A bad portrait--if it is a portrait, and not a seventeenthcentury painter's imaginative guess--of a famous villain. Old Crouchback himself."

"Old Crouchback!" Thomas was indignant. "Look at him. See anything wrong with his back?"

Jacqueline studied the portrait again and Thomas let out a little sigh of relief as the glasses began to slip slowly down her narrow, highbridged nose. The glasses were a barometer of Jacqueline's moods. When she was interested in, or worried about something, she forgot to push them back into place. In moments of extreme emotion they perched precariously on the tip of her nose.

"No," Jacqueline said finally.

"There is a slight hint of deformity in the set of the shoulders; one looks higher than the other. But that could be due to bad painting. He certainly was not a hunchback. He's even goodlooking, in a gloomy sort of way. It is a contemporary portrait, of course?"

Thomas glanced at her suspiciously. She continued to contemplate the portrait of Richard III with...


Excerpted from The Murders of Richard III by Elizabeth Peters Copyright © 2006 by Elizabeth Peters. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 19, 2013

    Early but worthwhile Elizabeth Peters

    Read this one just after reading "Daughter of Time" on the same subject. A who didn't dunnit. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Love Elizabeth Peters

    Peters blends mystery and history in a fun and readable manner. Her female characters are strong and yet still value femininity. This book like her other books has a lot of humor and wit. Most of her books I started getting at the library and found myself buying later since they can be enjoyed on multiple readings, this one included.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Stuff

    Elizabeth Peter's works are always full of interesting characters, good history and fun mystery. The same is true of this Jacqueline Kirby mystery. Although the story line is a bit more convoluted than some of Ms. Peters' other works, it is still a good way to spend an afternoon. You'll have a grand time reading about the eccentric behavior of history enthusiasts who dress in period costumes while learning about real historical controversies.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    pretty good lazy day read

    good plot - interesting since they found richard lll in the carpark.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2011

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    Posted September 19, 2011

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    Posted April 23, 2010

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    Posted August 21, 2010

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