Thursday, April 22, 2010

English History's Mysteries

My mysteries, for the most part, take place in the past. I've written two games occurring during the 1920s, one happens in Regency England, a script taking place in 1959 and two celebrating the '60s and '70s. As many of you know, my novel (now locked into a never-finished edit) takes place in 1935. I've always been interested in history - English history was my first love, but I've also read a great deal about French, Scottish, Irish and Russian history. I love reading historical fiction and have no problem with writers giving me 'what-ifs' to ponder - especially about some of England's biggest still-unresolved mysteries.

Here's a handful of English mysteries. Puzzle over them.

King Arthur
Did he really exist? If he did, he wasn't the King Arthur of the movies with all the knights in shining armor and the ladies in the veiled cone hats. There seems to be some proof he was an ancient Saxon or Welsh king, but no one knows for sure.

The Princes in the Tower
What happened to them? Some historians say Richard III had them killed, some say it was Henry VII's mother, some say it Henry himself. Still others say they were never killed at all, but escaped to continental Europe and the younger prince showed up during Henry VII's reign, leading a rebellion against the Tudor king.

Anne Boylen
Was she really guilty of adultery or was it a trumped up charge? I believe she was innocent. Anne Boleyn has always struck me as a rather clever woman, and fooling around on Henry VIII would have been an incredibly stupid and dangerous thing to do. On the other hand, however, she knew her life depended on giving Henry a son.

Mary, Queen of Scots
Did she write the Casket Letters? These were letters supposedly written by Mary to Lord Bothwell (whom she would later marry) showing her complicity in the murder of her second husband, Lord Darnley. No one knows if she was the author.

Jack the Ripper
Who was he? Theories have risen over the years, but the definitive answer has never been found.

Do you have a favourite historical mystery?


  1. I don't have a favorite, but like you, I love historical fiction and history in general. It's what I love so much about traveling in Europe. I get to see so much of it. When we went to Glastonbury, it is supposedly the sight of King Arthur's grave. Who's there if he didn't exist?

  2. Karen; Who knows? So much of King Arthur's story is legend and not based on factual history. This is why so many books are still being written giving new theories on who he really was - if he existed at all.

  3. All exciting mysteries here. I find mysteries everywhere.

  4. The King Arthur story/legend/myth, whatever is was or is a combination of has always fascinated me.

  5. Carol; Good for you! My biggest mysteries are "what's for dinner?" and "what did the cat just throw up?"

    Old Silly: I think its enduring fascination is that there's something in the story for everyone. I know many fans as well.

  6. Elspeth - Oooh, those are all wonderful mysteries to ponder; they really are. You've actually mentioned two of my favorites: King Arthur and Mary, Queen of Scots. Both of them intrigue me. Jack the Ripper is an interesting one, too... always, interesting "food for thought." Oh, and what about those stories of Robin Hood. How accurate are they? Did he really exist?

  7. Margot; I thought about adding Robin Hood to the mix- another fascinating mystery. His legend similar to King Arthur's in many ways. Coincidence?

  8. I always liked the "what happened to the Ninth Legion mystery" except these days it seems it was probably not wiped out in Britain at all.

  9. I liked Atlantis and the Lost Colony. :) But they're not English mysteries!

    Mystery Writing is Murder


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