Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Butchery: A Mystery of Tudor London


Seeing as one of our topics in AS History is British History 1485-1547, I decided to read the fictional book named Butchery: A Mystery of Tudor London by Kenneth Browning. Set in 1550 London, this book combines my interest in mystery, crime and murder with my curiosity to found out more about Britain's life and society in the 15th and 16th century.

Browning uses the main characters of Thomas and Katherine Whyte and George Harwood to depict to the reader a very vivid and descriptive trail to discover the killer of  brutal murder of a newcomer to the fictional town of Cheapside. This then turns into a hunt to resolve many more alike murders. The first murder was placed outside a candle shop in the Butchery district ( hence the title) the body was found savagely decapitated and the murder weapon of a meat cleaver right next to it; which in those times was not surprising that the murderer did not clean up after themselves.  With the murder weapon in hand and a few other clues, Tom, George and further down the line, Katherine use them to help solve the case.

From reading this book I found out quite interesting facts from the 16th century, such as how unhygienic London was  with Browning stating that the dead body would have been there presumably for hours yet no one seemed to mind the dead body in the street. Additionally in the book it referenced that candles back then were made out of animal fat, yet it smelt better than the air outside, which meant that the air in London in the 1500's must have been very polluted. Another factor I learnt about was religion by 1550 Henry VIII was made Supreme Head of the English church, this signified the end of Catholicism therefore in this book there were many reference to a more Protestant England and it was seen that the church was more involved with the state and law of the country. Apart from that I also learnt little things such as jobs and clothing around that area such as Sheriffs, Constables, Inn keepers and butchers to name a few.

Overall I really liked reading this book and thought it gave me a lot more knowledge of the time we will be studying even if it was fictional and  its interesting way of finding out the killer allowed me to hold focus and really enjoy the book. T C-D

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