To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
Published January 23rd 2013
Who killed Christopher Marlowe? What do you reckon?
Sixteen years before publishing The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street, Charles Nicholl cut his historical detective teeth by investigating the events surrounding the death of Christopher Marlowe. With the assiduity of a Sherlock Holmes or an Hercule Poirot, he takes the reader back to 30 May 1593, and recreates the events of the day when Marlowe met three other men in Deptford.
The book is shot through with the spy culture and the fear of Catholicism of the Elizabethan age. If you thought the Cold War had invented spies and double agents, you need to learn a little more about sixteenth-century history and acquaint yourself with the likes of Walsingham, Cecil and Burghley.
Nicholl re-opens the cold case of Marlowe's death and delves back through archives and accounts. He pores over papers and reports, furnishing us with a biographical background to the life of the playwright and others connected to him.
At a distance of more than four hundred years, there obviously has to be speculation to accompany the hard evidence he reveals, as well as to spice up the story and maintain the reader's interest across more than 300 pages. Whether or not you agree with his detective work and guess work, you will put down the book and realise that there was more to the death of Christopher Marlowe than can be merely summed up as a bar room brawl.
You may even be inspired to visit some of his poetry and plays. And that most definitely is not a bad thing.