MASK OF NIGHT (A Shakespearean Murder Mystery) – VG Philip Gooden – 5th in series
Constable – London, 2004 – Hardcover

With the coming of Lent, the impending death of Queen Elizabeth and increasing deaths from the Plague, the acting company, The Chamberlain’s Men, has traveled to Oxford where it has been commissioned by Dr. Hugh Fern to stage a private performance of Romeo and Juliet. However, when the body of Dr. Fern is found dead in a locked room, actor Nick Revill doesn’t believe it’s suicide and begins linking it with other deaths which have been occurring.

Gooden offers a wonderful look into Shakespeare’s time. I was delighted that The Bard is a secondary character rather than the investigator, and that one does not need a great knowledge of Shakespeare or his plays to enjoy the book. It is a classic mystery with clues and suspense along the way. I loved the character of Nick Revill and didn’t feel hampered by having started the series late into it. This was the first I’ve read in this series, but have already ordered all the others.

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