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Morality Play

by Barry Umsworth

I've been waiting for ages to have a good rant about this book. Basically, at its heart, it's a medieval-set whodunnit. Nothing wrong with that, I like a good medieval-set whodunnit. But it's obsessed with the exceptionally boring minutiae of the life of the travelling players at it's heart, particularly the innumerable ritual gestures they seem to make at every opportunity. It's just not interesting: it's medieval life pinned down and dissected, not living and breathing. And even the theme of the whodunnit plot is dull and pedestrian: do the rich really exploit the poor Good heavens, I had no idea that was going on. But the book seems to reveal this as if revealing some mystery never before contemplated. Ellis Peters showed that the medieval whodunnit could be fun; Umberto Eco showed that the medieval whodunnit could deal with complex philosophical and political matters; Barry Umsworth achieves neither of these things.
I feel a lot better for that...

Suggested by Sandy Buchanan, Buxton

Tagged with: pretentious

People who liked this book also enjoyed:
Wise Children by Angela Carter
The Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser



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