Unsolved Mysteries of History: An Eye-Opening Investigation into the Most Baffling Events of All Time

Unsolved Mysteries of History: An Eye-Opening Investigation into the Most Baffling Events of All Time

Unsolved Mysteries of History: An Eye-Opening Investigation into the Most Baffling Events of All Time

Unsolved Mysteries of History: An Eye-Opening Investigation into the Most Baffling Events of All Time

Excerpt

In Josephine Tey’s classic mystery story The Daughter of Time, Scotland Yard’s Alan Grant is laid up in the hospital after falling through a trapdoor. Frustrated and bored, he takes it upon himself to solve a five-hundred-yearold case: the murder of “the princes in the tower.”

The prime suspect in the case—indeed, the prime example of evil incarnate, to judge from Shakespeare’s play and, before that, Thomas More’s history—was King Richard III. This was a man accused of murdering two kings, of marrying (and then poisoning) the widow of one of his victims, and of drowning his own brother in a vat of wine. So the murder of his two young nephews, each of whom stood between Richard and the throne, seemed completely in character.

Grant, however, has his doubts. Stuck in bed, he keeps staring at a portrait of Richard, one in which the king appears far too kindly to have done anything so heinous. He assigns his visitors to investigate, and he discovers, to his shock and indignation, that More was a very unreliable source; for Sir Thomas, though quite literally a saint after his 1935 canonization, grew up in the household of Cardinal John Morton, a bitter enemy of Richard’s. In other words, More had it in for Richard.

The true villains, Grant concludes, were More, who framed Richard, and the historians who followed, who were too lazy to notice.

What’s the moral? That fictional detectives are better investigators than professional historians?

Hardly.

As Grant begrudgingly concedes, most of his “discoveries” about Richard had been discovered years and in some cases centuries earlier, by members of the same historical profession that he holds in such disdain. It was historians who analyzed More’s . . .

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