Richard III had been credited with the elimination of two nephews, and his name was a synonym for evil. But Henry VII, whose ‘settled and considered policy’ was to eliminate a whole family was regarded as a shrewd and far-seeing monarch. Not very lovable perhaps, but constructive and painstaking, and very successful withal. Grant gave up. History was something that he would never understand. The values of historians differed so radically from any values with which he was acquainted that he could never hope to meet them on any common ground.
I loved this book – it had absolutely everything that I wanted/needed on the rainy winter weekend when I read this.
In a way, I could relate quite well to Inspector Grant as he was laid up in hospital with nothing to do but stare at the ceiling, bored out of his head. Rainy winter weekends can have a similar effect. Unlike Grant, of course, it didn’t occur to me to start a research project into the life and legacy of Richard III, I merely cozied up with Tey’s book and a good supply of tea and snacks.
I can’t even put my finger of why I thought the book was so enjoyable – part of me liked the characters and the banter, part of me liked the “mystery” element, even tho there is little mystery to it, and part liked the historical aspect of it. I loved how Tey chose to format the story, how she disguised her research into the story of RIII as a hobby to pass time with.
In a way, this is why I love historical fiction, not because it sugar-coats all of the historical information and presents it in an easily digestible narrative, but because it dares to ask questions and share how the actual research of non-fictional topics can be fun. It has the power to inspire people to learn more.
I for one will take a much closer look at portraits from now on, and especially the one of RIII.