Elizabethan Theater Books

The Elizabethan Theater is a series of historical fiction novels written by Edward Marston. Edward Marston, it should be noted, is a pen name for Keith Miles. Miles is an author of historical and mystery fiction.

Order of Elizabethan Theater Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Roaring Boy 1980 Description / Buy
2 The Queen's Head 1988 Description / Buy
3 The Merry Devils 1989 Description / Buy
4 The Trip to Jerusalem 1990 Description / Buy
5 The Nine Giants 1991 Description / Buy
6 The Mad Courtesan 1992 Description / Buy
7 The Silent Woman 1992 Description / Buy
8 The Laughing Hangman 1996 Description / Buy
9 The Fair Maid of Bohemia 1997 Description / Buy
10 The Wanton Angel 1999 Description / Buy
11 The Devil's Apprentice 2001 Description / Buy
12 The Bawdy Basket 2002 Description / Buy
13 The Vagabond Clown 2003 Description / Buy
14 The Counterfeit Crank 2004 Description / Buy
15 The Malevolent Comedy 2005 Description / Buy
16 The Princess of Denmark 2006 Description / Buy
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A former lecturer with a degree in Modern History, Miles began his career as a writer of mystery fiction. That was in the mid-1980s and he chose to publish his first couple of novels under his real name.

It wasn’t until 1988 that Miles began the Elizabethan Theater Series and then adopted the Edward Marston pseudonym. Elizabethan Theater became only the first of many historical mystery novels to follow.

The Elizabethan Theater books follow the exploits of Nicholas Bracewell. Bracewell lives in the 1500s in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First and he has the privilege of working for the Lord Westfield’s men theatrical company.

By the events of The Queen’s Head, the first book in the series, Mary, Queen of Scots, has been executed. The terror of the Spanish Armada has also come. The theatrical scene has begun to reflect the turmoil of the times.

This is especially true for the Lord Westfield’s Men theatrical company that frequently performs at Inns like The Queen’s Head. Nicholas Bracewell is a bookholder whose duties encroach into the area of stage management.

The Theater industry boasts highly chaotic environments and Bracewell’s work is never done. In The Queen’s Head, an actor is murdered and Bracewell has the task of finding his theater company a suitable replacement.

This is as his employers and actors jostle for control over his decisions and choices. Bracewell must balance his managerial duties with his sleuthing hobbies as he takes to the task of finding the murderer in their midst, a job that is easier said than done.

Edward Marston keeps Nicholas Bracewell busy. Each new novel in the Elizabethan Theater series finds Bracewell supervising his company as they attempt to deliver a project.

The project in question, be it a comedy or drama, typically attempts to reflect the contemporary social, political, and economic issues and occurrences of the 1500s. This approach sometimes attracts the ire of critics both powerful and not so powerful.

Bracewell does what he can to make sure that all the pieces of the theater company are in place to deliver a satisfying performance. Lord Westfield, the company’s patron, is a demanding man and Bracewell is basically tasked with staying abreast of his many whims.

When crimes are committed, especially murder, Nicholas Bracewell puts his considerable intelligence to the task of finding the perpetrators. Even though the Elizabethan Theater series is categorized as a historical mystery, the books spend more time exploring the minutiae of theater work in the 1500s than they do on the crimes and murders and mysteries at play.

Elizabethan Theater Awards

The Roaring Boy, the seventh book in the series was nominated for an Edgar Award in 1996.

Best Elizabethan Theater Books

Edward Marston does an amazing job of transporting readers to the 16th Century and immersing them in the culture and traditions of the times, with some of the best books in this series including:

The Bawdy Basket: The Westfield’s Men Theater company is preparing to debut a play and Nicholas Bracewell, the stage manager, is waiting with baited breathe for the team’s talented playwright to deliver his next opus.

Nicholas doesn’t expect trouble from his friend Frank, a young actor that recently came onboard, but that is exactly what he gets. When Frank’s father is framed for murder, arrested and hanged for his crimes, Frank swears vengeance on the perpetrators, and he is ready to ruin the company’s new play in the process.

Nicholas convinces the young actor to stay in line and behave but only if he can help Frank get his revenge.

The Counterfeit Crank: Nicholas Bracewell has his hands full trying to keep a London Theater Troup afloat. Things get complicated when the company’s playwright becomes unavailable and another leaps in to take his place.

Then company costumes start to disappear at a time when Bracewell is dealing with con artists, gamblers, and murderers.

Other Book Series You May Like

Check out the “Bradecote and Catchpoll Investigation” Series by Sarah Hawkswood as well. Catchpoll is a wily sergeant. Hugh Bradecote is Acting Under Sheriff. No one wants Bradecote around. He’s merely the superior Catchpoll must learn to tolerate. Bradecote and Catchpoll must put their differences aside and solve crimes in the 1100s.

You will also enjoy the “Thomas Chaloner” Series by Susanna Gregory. Thomas Chaloner is a former British Spy trying to earn a living during the reign of Charles II. Thomas is drawn into the thick of the political intrigue of the times by John Thurloe, the feared secretary of State. When he isn’t spying for his employer, Thomas solves murders.

What Is The Next Book in The Elizabethan Theater Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Elizabethan Theater Series. The newest book is The Princess of Denmark and was released on August, 22nd 2006.

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