Richard III and the Murder in the Tower

Written by Peter A. Hancock
Review by Bethany Latham

For centuries, Richard III has been analyzed, villianized, apologized and more by historians, psychologists, novelists, and playwrights. The Ricardian and anti-Ricardian camps remain strictly delineated and firmly entrenched. Hancock’s history is undeniably well-researched (a full third of the page count is devoted to the references) as well as meticulously detailed. Does it provide new elucidation? Sort of. As you may’ve noticed from the title, that’s “murder” singular; this focuses on the execution of William, Lord Hastings – Hancock’s lynchpin to understanding of Richard III – rather than the princes in the Tower. Though well-written, this is a slow read, as Hancock repeats himself and feels it necessary to minutely detail the entire lives of people such as William “the Cat” Catesby in order to reach less than revelatory conclusions. His final pronouncement: Richard was “a basically loyal and honorable man caught in the Realpolitik of his times.” I’ll have to remember that line the next time I murder several people to get what I want.