Review 1892: Rizzio

The Scots mystery writer Denise Mina is still concerned with crime, but with this novel, she has turned to historical true crimes. Rizzio is a novella that deals with the 1566 murder of David Rizzio, a musician and favorite of Mary, Queen of Scots.

The murder has been engineered by Lord Lennox and Lord Ruthven, with the aid of Henry Darnley, Mary’s worthless husband. Darnley thinks the shock will cause his hugely pregnant wife to miscarry, most likely causing her to die. Then, he can be king. This is what came of their love match of the year before. To Lennox, Darnley’s father, this outcome would put him in power over his weak son. Lord Ruthven, almost dead already, is the tool of a group of aristocrats about to be dispossessed by parliament.

The novella is mostly description with little dialogue, but it has deep insight into the thoughts and personalities of its characters. It is mostly concerned with the activities of one night, March 9, 1566, in Edinburgh.

It is fast-paced and interesting. Mina has made no attempt to reflect the language of the time, and in fact wrote using modern idioms. Hence, perhaps, the lack of dialogue.

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2 thoughts on “Review 1892: Rizzio

  1. FictionFan July 18, 2022 / 6:49 pm

    This one is on my wish list already, but I have a couple of Mina’s other books waiting to be read so I’ve been putting it off. It’s such an interesting story – I’m glad you found that she handled it well.

    • whatmeread July 18, 2022 / 6:52 pm

      I thought she handled it fairly well. At least she didn’t try to invent archaic sounding language.

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