Last week (in case you missed it), archaeologists confirmed that a skeleton found under a Leicester parking lot belongs to King Richard III, killed in battle in 1485.
In an egregious case of victors writing history, both William Shakespeare and the not-so-saintly Thomas More have portrayed Richard as an evil, hunchbacked usurper and child killer.
Skeletal analysis now proves that Richard had scoliosis, but no hunch on his back. Facial reconstruction shows a young, handsome man.
And we can thank Richard for some famous legal reforms — including the bail system and, ironically, the presumption of innocence before guilt.
Contradictions like these keep me intrigued with England’s tumultuous middle ages. I’m a closet reader of medieval mysteries, so I was ecstatic to discover the Crispin Guest medieval noir series written by Jeri Westerson.
What, exactly, is medieval noir? It’s a subgenre Jeri invented that plays on the “hardboiled” novels of authors like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett (whose world-weary, tough-talking detective is named Sam Spade).
Unlike that other medieval detective, Brother Cadfael, Crispin Guest is a deeply flawed secular hero who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. (He actually lives during the reign of King Richard II, who had his own problems.)
Today I interview Jeri at Write It Sideways about teleporting detective noir to the mean streets of medieval London. It took Jeri fourteen years to get published, so she’s an inspiring late bloomer, too!
In other news, February 12th is Charles Darwin’s birthday
Darwin took almost 25 years to write On The Origin of Species. It was as much a labor of love as of science, and one, in the end, he wanted his wife to support more than anyone else. You can read about “The Love Song of Charles Robert Darwin” here.