Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Monday, November 21, 2011

The Italian Secretary

- Holyrood Palace

My latest book from the library is The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes by Caleb Carr (The Alienist). I really like the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, and of the books written by other authors about Holmes, this one is the best I've read - Carr really seems to do a good job of capturing Holmes' personality.

The plot involves a message to Holmes from his brother Mycroft, asking him to investigate some mysterious killings in Scotland near Holyrood Palace where, three hundred years earlier, David Rizzio, the Italian secretary of Mary Queen of Scots, was brutally murdered.

- The Murder of Rizzio by John Opie

I'm finding the book enjoyable, especially as I recently checked out from the library Mary, Queen of Scots, a 1971 film starring Vanessa Redgrave (Queen Mary), Glenda Jackson (Queen Elizabeth I), Timothy Dalton (Mary's husband, Lord Darnley), and Ian Holm (Mary's Italian secretary). The plot, from Wikipedia ...

Following the death of her husband Francis II of France, Mary, Queen of Scots (Vanessa Redgrave) returns to her native land. As in neighbouring England, the Protestant faith has been embraced by many nobles of Scotland; in addition, the Catholic Mary has to deal with her half-brother James Stewart, Lord Moray's (Patrick McGoohan) ambitions for rule .....

Fearing that Mary has ambitions for England's throne, Elizabeth I of England (Glenda Jackson) ... sends the younger, dashing but weak Lord Darnley (Timothy Dalton), from a powerful Catholic family. As she expected, Mary becomes enamoured of Darnley and chooses him for marriage. Lord Moray, a Protestant, opposes the marriage, but Mary proceeds ....... The situation deteriorates as Mary frequently consults with the Italian courtier David Riccio (Ian Holm) .... A group of Scottish lords persuade Darnley to help get rid of Riccio, whom they murder in Mary's presence ...

- Redgrave and Dalton

As we all know, things end badly for Mary - she's eventually executed by Queen Elizabeth. The movie was interesting, if sad - Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars in his review.

So, the book by Carr is a fun read - I recommend it for Sherlock Holmes fans.


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