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Review 172:
March 2021

 No Bed for Bacon by Caryl Brahms and S J Simon.

First Published: 1941

Internet entries:

 The Author.

Caryl Brahms

Historical interest

No Bed for Bacon
by Caryl Brahms and S J Simon

Gwynneth’s choice, made on a recommendation and not pre-read.

This is Elizabethan history spliced with artistic licence, and the result is romp around the relevant characters Elizabeth, Raleigh, Francis Bacon, Essex, Lady Viola, and Shakespeare, interleaved with various historical incidents such as the Spanish Armada, Raleigh’s Cloak, moving the Globe Theatre, and the first boiled potato.

No-one in the club professed deep historical knowledge and hence we all fell to wondering, “did this really happen?” However, the overall effect is a humorous interesting light-hearted read, and many of us were grateful for that. And whilst the relevance of a valuable four-poster bed to the developing Elizabethan middle class is clear, whether royal beds from a progression were much sought after is hard to tell, and whether the queen’s petulance extended to a bed for Bacon is impossible to know.

The response from the Book Club members fairly consistent, and included, “not a page-turner but historically fascinating, amusing characters, amusing easy read. In the end, the historical (in)accuracy did not matter. The age of the book was surprising in that the nature of the humour is much more akin to that of 50 years later.

However, one club member felt that this was rather like being on the outside of an in-joke; whilst the historicity rang some bells, the bells were not loud enough. Another felt that there was an over-abundance of conversation which made the book hard work, especially as there was little in the way of character development.

Part of the cleverness of the book was the use of the theatre as a way of interlinking and poking fun at the various characters; and hence the comment that this is an Elizabethan romp.

Overall, an amusing easy read.

AA BC rating: 3.3 stars.
PC, 13th March 2021