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The Laughing Hangman: A Novel Hardcover – Jun 15 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Vhps Trade (June 15 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312143052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312143053
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,645,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The coarse and treacherous world of Elizabethan theater is brought vividly to life as Lord Westfield's men return for an eighth outing (after The Roaring Boy, 1995), in which jealousy, murder and accusations of blasphemy descend upon the troupe. The players are about to perform the latest work of Jonas Applegarth, a controversial, foul-tongued playwright whose ego is nearly as fat as he is. But amidst the triumph of the performance, tragedy strikes: the elderly choirmaster of a children's acting troupe (and rival of Westfield's men) is found hanged above his own stage. When stage manager Nicholas Bracewell discovers the body, he hears the distinctive sniggering of the murderer, nicknamed the Laughing Hangman, echoing in the theater. With little to go on, Bracewell investigates while providing bodyguards for the universally unpopular Applegarth and sorting out his own relations with his former love, Anne Hendrik. A second murder at the Queen's Head, home of Bracewell's troupe, leads to a riveting finale. Fans of Bracewell and company will relish this return to the company of Lawrence Firethorn, lead actor and ladies' man, and unlucky playwright Edmund Hoode, who may at last have found love. Marston's wit and vivid evocation of Elizabethan London's sights and smells provide a delightfully ribald backdrop for this clever series.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Nicholas Bracewell's Elizabethan drama troupe earns accusations of heresy when a sacrilegious playwright joins. As stage manager, Bracewell defends them?and also investigates the murders that plague the group. Authentic period detail from the author of The Dragons of Archenfield (LJ 8/95).
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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He missed her. Nicholas Bracewell felt a pang of regret so sharp and so unexpected that it made him catch his breath. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Murder in Elizabethan England Nov. 27 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Lord Westfield's Men are once again hip deep in a series of murders, Elizabethan style, in The Laughing Hangman by Edward Marston. Nicholas Bracewell, man for all seasons, bookholder and mediator for the actors, and detective when anything threatens them, is faced with one of his thorniest mysteries. The players have agreed to perform a play by a notorious and drunken playwright, Jonas Applegarth. At the same time Nicholas has been asked to rescue a young boy whose father says has been impressed against his will into the Chapel Children, a theater group connected with the Chapel Royal. While trying to find out what is credible, Bracewell discovers the body of the Master of the Chapel hanging above the stage at Blackfriars. As he approaches the body he hears a mocking eerie laughter before a door slams. This initiates an intriguing search for the laughing hangman, another death complete with laughter and yet another before the murderer is apprehended. Marston describes an interesting, believable world in Elizabethan London. The writ of the law does not travel far from the main streets and people often take matters into their own hands to defend themselves or attack their enemies. The theater is really outside the law, allowed to exist on sufferance. This, I believe, makes it easier for Nicholas to understand the mind of a person who could act outside the law. In a sense, it is all theater and an understanding of what happens on stage is prerequisite to solving the mystery. The theater world is riveting to tour, to trace the origins of much of our entertainment today. I keep hoping that Shakespeare will wander in to watch one of Lord Westfall's Men's offerings. Maybe he is in disguise. Marston provides us with interesting three-dimensional characters for the most part. Even the minor roles have meat to them. The story is well-told and, while I figured out the murderer several pages before the end, I was not at all sure of the motivation. And the motivation is something that could have caused a murder only in Elizabethan England. You cannot do much better than to pay a visit to Nicholas Bracewell in Elizabethan London
Eighth Book in the Elizabethan Theatre Series Nov. 30 2006
By J. Chippindale - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Edward Marston is the pseudonym of Keith Miles, a fairly prolific and extremely good writer of mainly Elizabethan and medieval mysteries. He has also written mysteries under his own name with both sporting and golf backgrounds. However it is primarily the books that take place earlier in history that I am interested in. He read modern history at Oxford and has had many jobs, including university lecturer, but fortunately for all his readers, he turned to the writing profession.

The party of actors called Lord Westfield's men are in somewhat of a dilemma. James Applegarth, a belligerent and sacrilegious playwright has a wonderful play, The Misfortunes of Marriage, but should the players be associated with such a man. When they do decide to receive Applegarth, they little know that they also receive all of his enemies with him.

Actors and critics and more importantly another troupe are not portrayed in a very good light in the play and there are bound to be repercussions. When there are gruesome hangings in both of the troupes of actors Nicholas Bracewell once again has his hands full trying to manage the highly strung theatre players and seek out the killer at the same time.

Edward Marston bring to life the sights and sound of Elizabethan London so effectively that the reader almost feels transported back to the narrow stinking streets of old London town.
Another great Murder from Edward Marston Nov. 7 2012
By RandyBunny - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this tale of Nicholas Bracewell, the book holder for the Westfield's Men theatre company, lost love leads our hero to try to rescue a child actor impressed into a rival theatre company while attempting to prevent the presence of a brilliant, but obnoxious playwright from destroying the tranquility, such as it is, of Westfield's Men. Throw in a hangman with a curious sense of humor and a rekindling of love and The Laughing Hangman is an enjoyable addition to the Nicholas Bracewell series of mystery stories set in Elizabethan England.

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