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The Killer of the Princes in the Tower (Paperback)

A New Suspect Revealed

P&S History > British History P&S History > Royal History World History > UK & Ireland > England > London

By M J Trow
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 30 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526797216
Published: 7th November 2023



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The disappearance of two boys during the summer of 1483 has never been satisfactorily explained. They were Edward, Prince of Wales, nearly thirteen at the time, and his brother, Richard of York, nearly ten. With their father, Edward IV, dying suddenly at forty, both boys had been catapulted into the spotlight of fifteenth-century politics, which was at once bloody and unpredictable.

Thanks to the work of the hack ‘historians’ who wrote for Henry VII, the first Tudor, generations grew up believing that the boys were murdered and that the guilty party was their wicked uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Richard crowned himself King of England in July 1483, at which time the boys were effectively prisoners in the Tower of London.

After that, there was no further sign of them.

Over the past 500 years, three men in particular have been accused of the boys’ murders – Richard of Gloucester; Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond; and Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. The evidence against them would not stand up in a court of law today, but the court of history is much less demanding and most fingers remain pointed squarely at Richard of Gloucester.

This book takes a different approach, the first to follow this particular line of enquiry. It is written as a police procedural, weighing up the historical evidence without being shackled to a particular ‘camp’. The supposition has always been made that the boys were murdered for political reasons. But what if that is incorrect? What if they died for other reasons entirely? What if their killer had nothing to gain politically from their deaths at all?

And, even more fascinatingly, what if the princes in the Tower were not the only victims?

"If you’re a lover of historical books or a murder mystery fan, then you will certainly enjoy this read."

Family and Community Historical Research Society Newsletter, Volume 23, February 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I'm so glad I got this book, as the real historical mystery is expanded on well here. I highly recommend to all history lovers, as it expands on the real King Richard and the princes - and their ultimate mysterious demise within the tower.

NetGalley, Alayna Romo

It’s well written and detailed and gives a very convincing idea as to who did actually kill the two young boys. If you’re one for reading about real crime, or history, this is definitely one to take a look at. I think it’ll provide a new insight, one you may have never heard before.

Read the full review here

Life and Tea

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have always been fascinated by the princes in the tower. This was a very fascinating book and highly recommend.

NetGalley, Heather Michael

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book, this was such a great nonfiction book. I really enjoyed reading about the princes in the tower and this book really helped put the new evidence to life.

NetGalley, Kay McLeer

While I feel the writer is very convincing in his argument I will leave you to ponder who you thought did the deed. An excellent book I would very happily recommend to others.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

Trow uses sound reasoning to exam all of the possible culprits and players who could stand to gain or lose from the very livelihood of these two boys. While you may not agree with who Trow ultimately chooses as the culprit, it is undeniable that Trow has researched and built a strong case in his favor.

NetGalley, Herman Rocha

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Princes in the tower has always been a great mystery. I wish one day we would know exactly what happened, but the. Again that would ruin the mystery I guess.
I really enjoyed this book. It was so well written. Can't wait to read more by this author!

NetGalley, Katie Jamison

The Killer of the Princes in the Tower was an intriguing historical look into the end of the War of the Roses and the probably fate of Edward V and his brother, Richard, Duke of York. The impact of these boys and the question of who killed them had a fascinating impact on history and this was an interesting look into the subject matter.

NetGalley, Melisa Safchinsky

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this true crime examination of a historical mystery which has captivated imaginations for centuries. Although undeniably a terrible tragedy, through the lens of the subsequent 600+ years, the horror and pathos gives way (somewhat) to historical interest. There have of course been numerous good historical accounts and I confess I was first drawn in and deeply affected by Josephine Tey's take on the case and moved into the Ricardian camp. I also followed the archaeological dig and reinternment of Richard III from an ignominious car park in Leicester to the cathedral there.

I found the author's style both accessible and interesting. Most histories begin with (as my professors used to say) telling the reader what the author is going to say, saying it, and then concluding with what they've just said. This book is more of a mystery style offering. The author gives a fairly comprehensive and understandable background of the political and cultural situations of the time as well as the major players. He follows up by examining (and discarding) the "usual suspects" who are generally regarded as culpable and includes an overview of the less likely culprits. He then introduces a (to-me) unexpected alternative and slowly builds up a compelling and plausible picture of what may very well have happened. The whole plot turns on its simple plausibility. It definitely *could* have happened as written.

I enjoyed the author's meticulous examination and correction of some inaccurate translations which have slowly ossified into accepted canon. One of the problems of necessarily writing and interpreting history based on later accounts (since much of the first person record is lost or destroyed) is that mistakes (and intentional misinformation) can easily creep in and be accepted and built upon by all that follows. Here, the author has stripped away much of the accepted history and at least tried to see it without the trappings which have built up over the last centuries.

It's not likely that we'll ever find incontrovertible proof one way or the other, but I'm really fascinated by the absolute logical plausibility of Trow's account of what might well have happened - as well as the staggering effects on history the guilty party might well have had, if the account is mostly true as written.

This would make a superlative selection for public or school library acquisition, home library use, or as a nice gift for a history loving reader. The language is accessible to older (post secondary school) age and up. The appendices include an abbreviated bibliography and index. The gallery of illustrations includes facsimile drawings of building layouts and photos of relevant buildings as well as portraits of some of the dramatis personae.

Thorough and compelling. Five stars.

NetGalley, Annie Buchanan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It was Sharon Kay Penman who first introduced me to Richard III, and from that time on I began to peek into his life through other authors. I always found it difficult to believe that it was his hand that caused the deaths of his nephews. When I found M.J. Trow’s book “The Killer of the Princes in the Tower,” I couldn’t wait to delve into his explanations of who the killer might be and why.

I say ”who the killer might be” because hundreds of years have passed and the odds of finding out the truth is lost in time (something the author readily admits). Regardless, Mr. Trow attacks this quest like a modern-day detective, though, plowing through all the possible suspects by explaining why each could possibly be the killer before shredding those possibilities. The final suspect is presented to us at the end, and the author carefully pulls aside each protective layer until one feels that there is no doubt that Mr. Trow has arrived at an obvious truth.

Along the way, readers will learn much about the people who lived during that period of time while detailing different events and sharing English history. Mr. Trow writes with a deliciousness that graces every page, drawing readers along a different path and possibly uncovering the truth of a centuries-old mystery. So much fun that one scarcely remembers that this is a history book! Five stars.

NetGalley, Dee Arr

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The long debated question - Who Killed the Princes in the Tower?

Well, M. J. Trow tackles that question in this book, and I have to say, the suspect was NOT someone I was expecting to be named! I was completely blown away, but her analysis and theory makes complete sense.
I don't want to spoil it, and give the name of the suspect away (you have to read the book for yourself), but OH MY GOODNESS! How in the world was this person not thought of before? How did they escape scrutiny for so long?

Throughout this book, the writer takes us through the ups and downs of the Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties, the theories, main players, and usual suspects that come up when the disappearance of the two princes is discussed.
Now, I have long been a Richard III fan, and I could never come to terms with the thought that he could have been responsible. So, you can imagine my relief when he was not named. But, there were only a handful of people that COULD have been responsible, and had the access to the princes that the crime would have required.

I think that this new suspect opens a possibility, a new line of questioning. However, given that centuries have passed since the crime was committed, we are never fully going to know who was responsible. The tragic ending of the princes in the tower is going to remain a mystery until the end of times.

This book was truly enjoyable, and it gave me a lot of information - some newer crimes which were woven in to explain the suspect likelihood, as well as going through the materials that we know with a fine tooth comb. For those who enjoy this period in history, or love a good who dun it - then this book is for you!

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As an ardent Ricardian (and fan of MJ Trow's previous book on the oft-maligned king) I thoroughly enjoyed this deep dive into the possible killer of the Princes in the Tower. Trow's meticulous research throws up a surprising new candidate, and it's a pretty compelling argument - certainly one that hadn't occurred to me, but Trow's elegant and entertaining investigation makes it all seem incredibly plausible.

A thoroughly rewarding, enjoyable read.

NetGalley, Ophelia Sings

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love MJ Trow's mysteries and I loved how she talks about an historical fact as it was a whodunnit.
I have no opinion on who the historical culprit was, I had a lot of fun in reading this well researched and gripping book.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Princes in the Tower murder twist as new suspect emerges in 15th century mystery

The Telegraph 25/04/21

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in King Richard III.

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

As an occasional true crime fan with a passing interest in history, this was a pretty satisfying read. The author is a very clear writer, he explains the convoluted politics of the time very well and then he breaks down the main suspects be they plausible or implausible one by one and argues the points for and against their guilt.

NetGalley, Maria Cambra Brown

This book will make you rethink the case of the Princes in the Tower. The killer identified in the book does deserve to be in the line up of suspects involved in the case, but before I picked up the book, I didn't see it coming at all. This work definitely puts a new suspect into the spotlight so that more research can be done.

NetGalley, Jo Romero

It’s good to read a theory that is neither pro-Ricardian nor anti-Ricardian and that looks at the whole subject from a very different angle. I found this book almost as gripping as fiction, so despite not agreeing with the conclusion I still really enjoyed reading it.

NetGalley, Helen Skinner

By exploring the boys' possible killers through the modern policing triumvirate of motive, means, and opportunity, Trow approaches both previously-suggested culprits and a new potential murderer with a clear and analytical style.

NetGalley, Rachael Whitbread

I found this book rather different than other books that are about the princes in the tower. There were some compelling theories and the suspect that Trow believes did the deed was not someone that I remotely considered. I think this book will definitely have people talking about this new suspect. If you want to know MJ Trow’s opinion about who he thinks killed the princes, consider reading “The Killer of the Princes in the Tower: A New Suspect Revealed.”

NetGalley, Heidi Malagisi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A new suspect indeed! A very intriguing answer to the question, who killed the Princes in the Tower?. Richard of Gloucester could indeed be rehabilitated, as this novel gives an incredible’ truth’ that seen through modern day eyes, and previous events to be very credible.
Very logical in its deductions, each character involved in this event is crossed examined in a police procedural way, where were the suspects, what was their motive and how did they benefit. Historical facts are considered and put up against actual records of the time. These facts cut through the gossip of Thomas More, and a wordsmith named William Shakespeare, and the answer would seem to be look at those who hide in plain sight, the right place and the right time, seem to be watchwords here.
A novel to be savoured and enjoyed. The detail and research is amazing, the alternative viewpoint is credible. Sadly , someone got away with two murders, but this book could clear a much maligned King of England.

NetGalley, Daphne Sharpe

I came to this from reading Trow's earlier book on Richard III - Richard III in the North - However, this tome covers the mystery of the princes in the tower. Using the time honoured technique of analysing means, motive and opportunity, Trow posits the question - qui bono? Who benefits?

Trow sets forth his case utilising methods familiar to anyone who has watched or read a police procedural, court room drama or forensic investigation. As the with any suspicious death, he looks at those closest to the victims - the most obvious suspects (Richard III and Henry VII), some lesser suspects (the adherents, the family) before putting forth one who he considers highly likely and almost unanimously overlooked. A person who had the holy trinity of means, motive and opportunity - a person who quite literally got away with murder. In fact, someone I myself had not considered!

I found this to be a compelling read - it covers off the period of the Wars of the Roses, the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III, Bosworth, and the succession of Henry VII, the mystery of the princes and the pretenders rather succinctly without bogging the reader down in a mire of dry information overload (or dump). There is enough here for even the most casual reader to follow without having to take a crash course in medieval history.

Whether you agree or disagree with Trow's conclusions, this makes for some thought-provoking reading - who knows, maybe there is another suspect lurking in the shadows that no-one has considered ... after five centuries, nothing is conclusive but nor should it be dismissed for not following the two "standard" lines of thought.

Definitely one for my own library!

NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer

This is a hard book to review without giving away spoilers. What I can say is the author has a terrific way of laying out his theory without it being weighed down and boring. The author leaves no stone unturned in his quest to find the answer to the question of who killed the Princes in the Tower.

He visits the main three - Richard III, Henry VII and The Duke of Buckingham as well as others who have been considered over time - but as the title suggests he introduces a new suspect and presents his reasons as to why he believes he is the murderer of those boys.

As someone who has read many books on the subject, I found this book to be truly fascinating and thought provoking. The end of the book has wonderful pictures as well.

NetGalley, Christine Cazeneuve

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was absolutely enthralled by Trow's reexamination of what he calls "the coldest of cold cases".

NetGalley, Kara Race-Moore

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was interested in reading this book because, like everyone who has ever watched "The White Queen," or read Alison Weir's "The Princes In The Tower," or Josephine Tey's "The Daughter Of Time," I wanted to know who killed these boys. I've developed my own theory over time. I have to hand it to M.J. Trow. He has introduced a suspect that I've never seriously considered. Before making his case, he examines many of the usual suspects and explains - in great detail - why he discounts them. He also disputes the arguments made by other historians and authors.

I enjoyed this book immensely. I can't say that he completely convinced me to change my mind, but I learned a great deal that I didn't already know. The depth of detail in this book alone is worth the read. But the author's obvious commitment to leaving no stone unturned sets this book apart from many others in the genre. If you love all things Richard III, the War of the Roses, the Plantagenets, or even the Tudors, I think you will enjoy this book. It definitely has an academic tone, but it's still quite entertaining.

I'm very grateful that NetGalley offered me a copy after I put this on my wishlist. It was a very enjoyable, and educational, read.

NetGalley, S Dean

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In "The Killer of the princes in the tower", the coldest, the most frozen and the most unresolved cold case in English history, is given a new lease of life by the talented novelist and historian M J Trow who brilliantly turns the tables on all the historical certainties that we have been gullible enough to accept since 1483 about the still unexplained disappearance of Edward IV's boys. A contemporary approach to a missing person report that covers every single aspect of the case without for once exonerating any of the usual suspects gravitating around the throne at the time.
Judiciously presented, this new study rejuvenates the leads behind the story by planting seeds of doubt about the roles and motivations of all the people directly involved in all the political shenanigans. A successful 21st century investigation into a 15th century murder mystery....
A fresh and thrilling look at one of the most compelling mysteries of late medieval Europe that will definitely be welcomed by many history buffs. To be enjoyed without moderation!

NetGalley, jean luc estrella

If you are a fan of the tragic princes who deserved more in life and still deserve justice, definitely pick this one up!

NetGalley, Deborah Reeves

This is a well-researched and written book that I would recommend to anyone interested in British history, particularly the War of Roses and the Tudor family history.

NetGalley, Monica Babaian

The mystery of the Princes has already been thrashed out fully, hasn't it? Well, no, perhaps not…

The author of this book promises a new take and he certainly delivers! This is a really refreshing look at the events surrounding the Princes disappearance and probable murder in 1483. The author considers all the possible (and less possible) suspects, lays out the evidence and finally presents his own conclusion. I’m used to history books where the author begins by setting out their hypothesis and then presenting me with their reasons throughout the rest of the book, but Trow does things differently: he keeps his prime suspect under wraps until 60% of the way through, and then builds up his case against that person piece by piece. This worked really well, because it added in all the suspense and tension of reading a fictional detective story.

While I’m not sure I totally go along with the author’s conclusions, and strongly disagree with some of his fundamental arguments, he does make a strong and compelling case. I had a lot of fun forming my own view from all the information he presented. The book is informative and lively and contains plenty of detail about the various figures, such as their family history, their general daily life and their specific habits. I recommend it to history fans and mystery fans and suggest you go in knowing as little as possible so as not to spoil the atmosphere.

NetGalley, Amelia Edwards

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I've always been absolutely transfixed with all things British history, and the princes in the tower mystery figure highly up there. The one thing that I felt could be switched is the title. Because the book entails so much more than just that mystery. It was very well research and very interesting. I had a couple of really great evenings reading it, and I enjoyed it. Kudos to the author on well-researching and presenting it in an excellent way that made it interesting and giving information that I I was unaware of. I loved it and definitely recommend this book.

NetGalley, Sheri O'Neill

I've read a lot of books over the years but never really read any on the princes, only just seen them in passing in other books. So this was my first book on the centuries-old mystery of what happened to the two English princes. The author puts forth a good view of the subject and I found it extremely interesting.

NetGalley, Norma Carroll

An amazing historical book. I've always been fascinated by this story of the princes and this book really hit the spot.

NetGalley, Blind Bat Books Bakunzi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The death of the Princes in the tower is an historical event that has always troubled me. How does anyone not know? Why has no one been successful in uncovering the truth? As a fan of history, it continues to plague me and I genuinely don’t belong to any one particular ‘camp’ when it comes to who I believe was responsible for their deaths. That’s why this book appealed to me so much - apart from having an avid interest in everything Tudor, a book written from a different perspective with no bias towards any one culprit, it was an interesting case study and has opened up many more motives and possibilities for what really happened back in 1483 and why.

An extremely engrossing and thought provoking take on the case of the Princes in the Tower, and one which I would highly recommend to all history fans and readers who enjoy a classic real life “whodunnit”.

NetGalley, Uppity Blond

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was thoroughly researched and packed with information.
A fascinating read, that provided me with a new insight into this mystery.

NetGalley, K.M. Kenyon

About M J Trow

M.J. Trow is the author of nearly 100 books covering crime fiction, true crime and historical biography. He is a military historian by training, lectures extensively in the UK and overseas, and has appeared regularly on the History and Discovery Channels. He can be heard in podcasts on all the usual platforms, both as a guest and the main presenter on both historical and true crime subjects. He lives in the Isle of Wight.

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