“You’ve arrested a Fool for murder?” the English voice said incredulously.
“He is not under arrest. At most he’s a weak suspect. However, he’s a problem to us because it’s very difficult to understand what he’s doing here. The interviews we’ve held have been—unsatisfactory.”
The deep voice chuckled. “I can imagine. He answers your questions, but his answers are, shall we say ambiguous. Even enigmatic.”
“Thank God,” Kate burst out. “You do understand.”
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, but I may be able to throw a bit of light into your darkness. When may I meet this fool of yours?”
“You want to meet him?”
“My dear young woman, would you ask a paleontologist if she would care to meet a dinosaur? Of course I want to meet him. Is he in jail?”
Read Laurie’s thoughts on writing To Play the Fool on her blog Mutterings.
Read the VBC discussion on this book.
Order a Copy
Print or ebook: Indiebound
Print or ebook: Barnes & Noble
Print or ebook: Amazon
UK edition: Blackwell’s
Signed copy: Bookshop Santa Cruz
What they say
Among the shrubbery sleepers in Golden Gate Park lives a man who calls himself Brother Erasmus. He carries only a staff, dresses in rags and speaks only the words of the Bible and Shakespeare. Erasmus ministers to the homeless and preaches to Berkeley seminarians, who see him as a modern St. Francis. He is also wanted for murder. From this risky material…Laurie R. King has crafted To Play the Fool, a thoughtful and compelling character study with a crime at its core. (San Jose Mercury News)
Like the holy fools whose purposes frame her latest modern mystery, King practices her own magic…. Brother Erasmus [is] a widely respected monk-like figure, part minister and part mime, who speaks only in quotations. Frustrated in trying to interview Erasmus, Kate gradually connects him to the “cultivated lunacy” of a modern Fools’ movement which, begun in late-1960s England, disintegrated 15 years later in violence and death…. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
King’s calculated disdain for the received conventions of the detective story, though, only confirms her status as one of the most original talents to emerge in the ‘90s. (Kirkus)
Laurie King’s third novel, To Play the Fool, is the only book all month that I stayed up until 4 in the morning to finish, then regretted there wasn’t more. (Boston Globe)
Intriguing, demanding, well crafted and better written than most, this book demonstrates that there is still fresh and stimulating ground to be broken by the crime novel. Laurie R. King’s first, A Grave Talent, just out in paperback, was an award winner that demonstrated a rare new talent. To Play The Fool confirms her place as one of the most literate and gifted writers the mystery world has seen for some time. (Val McDermid, Manchester Evening News)
To see the park where Erasmus and the others sleep sometimes
And Laurie’s seminary, where Erasmus has been known to preach
For a bibliography and Laurie’s suggestions to teacher and book groups, click here.
Isn’t there something delightfully ironic about a PhD thesis on foolishness?
And who was this Erasmus fellow, anyway?
For a view of the area around Fisherman’s Wharf
Aquatic Park, where Professor Whitlaw sees Brother Erasmus at work
Fisherman’s Wharf, ideal setting for a Fool.