Murder by Misrule

Murder by Misrule Summary

Brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss -- and in danger.

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.

"Castle's characters brim with zest and real feeling." — Kirkus Starred Review.

Don't dally! Jump right into this first book in the award-winning Francis Bacon mystery series.

Book Reviews

Kat Costa

Earns 5+/5 Gray’s Inn’s Barristers…Clever and Engaging Entertainment!5 star

History meets mystery…I greatly enjoy having history tweaked into a fictional mystery, and Anna Castle is a master at that with her Francis Bacon Mystery series. She transports readers (listeners in this case) to sixteenth century England enveloped in vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells along with offering a challenging investigative style: no crime scene photos, DNA, or computer databases. The twenty-five-year-old Francis Bacon has fallen out of favor with Queen Elizabeth I and banished from court, too much forward thinking is not welcomed, which isn’t a death sentence, but includes restrictions that amount to being “nobody; a man with no prospects, no future...until further notice.” Does it mean one can’t roam the city? Well, it should when Bacon literally stumbles on the body of his former tutor, Tobias Smythson. His lord uncle has charged Bacon to investigate, explaining his own connection to a covert mission that may be more the reason for the murder than thievery, and dangles the idea that solving the murder might be one way to regain his status at court. So when Bacon is approached by a quartet of young law students in need of a tutor, he accepts the position and proceeds to strengthen their knowledge of the law by investigating Smythson’s murder. The young men use their street-wise attitude to track down evidence, interrogate witness and suspects, and report back to Bacon. Clever. Detailed. Educational. Entertaining.55

isle of Butr

Confusing2 star

I am still not sure how these misers happened. The history was interesting but not helpful to solve mystery. Even though this is billed as a Bacon mystery I would call it a Tom Clarady mystery. He is the more interesting character.25


Historical Fiction: My Guilty Pleasure4 star

I recently binged a podcast called, “Historical Figures,” and found the Sir Francis Bacon episode (Season 1, Episode 32) particularly intriguing. I think that played a large part in getting me to take up this tale. I have begun to find I really enjoy the melding of fictionalized situations with historical people and places. I think you’ll really enjoy this tale, if you’ll give it a try.45

Frustrated Parker too

Can’t live without Bacon5 star

As an English lit major years ago my education is full of Francis Bacon and 16th century London. Loved the story and it’s true to the period scenes of life then. Worth the read. And Bacon’s brillance again raises the question: Did he actually write plays under the name of Shakespeare?55


Murder by Misrule5 star

Historical, fun red!55


Great read5 star

Great characters story line and history. Definitely choose this one if you want a fun read.55

Ireke Onuma

Good Story5 star

She really got me there with Trumpets character. And how the whole story really panned out. Just great. Kudos. Recommended reading.55


Utterly charming!5 star

There’s so much to enjoy in this light mystery. The characters are well developed and engaging, the mystery turning into two plot lines was a surprise, and the description of Elizabethan times was provocative. I found myself on Wikipedia reading first about Bacon, then Essex, then Burghley, and on and on. This book is well written, with lively dialogue and great descriptions of everything period from clothing and manners to the muck and mire.55


Cozy mystery but more a detective story2 star

Set in Sir Francis Bacon ‘s time but could have been any period. I skipped to end. Agatha Christy ending.25

English bro

Murder by Misrule5 star

I loved following Ben, Tom, Trumpet, and Stephen throughout the book. Wished I could have been a part of their gang.55

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