Discussion Questions: Murder by Misrule

Murder by Misrule by Anna CastleDiscussion questions for Murder by Misrule, by Anna Castle

1. Mystery novels are supposed to be puzzles that the reader can solve along with the detective — or ahead of him! Did you figure out who the villain was before the end?

2. Who did you suspect along the way? Were there any red herrings that particularly led you astray?

3. Do you think the author “played fair” in giving you enough clues and letting you in on the protagonists’ investigation?

4. There’s a big surprise toward the end of the book. Did you see it coming? Did it change the way you felt about the story or the characters?

5. Women’s roles were greatly restricted through most of human history, including the Elizabethan period. They’re expected to stay home and take care of their families. The female characters in this book don’t abide by such restrictions. Do you find them plausible? What do you think about the roles they’ve created for themselves in their world?

6. All of Anna Castle’s characters have big dreams, even the bad guys. What do the characters in this book want? What do you think about their goals? Are they attainable, laudable, despicable, absurd?

7. How do the main characters change over the course of the book? Do they get closer to their goals or perhaps farther away?

8. What role would you devise for yourself in Elizabeth’s England? Can you think of any advantages to living in those days?

9. Some people believe the past was a terrible place. Others think that whole periods, like this one, were dark, overshadowed by the central conflict of the time. Castle takes a lighter view of the past, finding humor even in religious controversy. What do you think? Does she go too far? What do you imagine the people of the past thought about their own times? Do the central conflicts of the present dominate your life and your plans?

10. Many people read historical fiction as a form of time travel, a way of learning about a different time and place. Did you learn anything from this book that surprised (intrigued / dismayed / amused) you?

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