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Eunuchs in History and Mystery
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"How long will power remain in the hands of eunuchs, with effeminate minds, perverse by natural propensity, liable to think up all sorts of misfortunes and carry them out, beings of lustful minds, instruments of turpitude, guides in illicit acts and receptacles of vices." Writing during the 12th century, the poet and chronicler Constantine Manasses (quoted by Rodolphe Guilland) summed up the feelings of many, then and now, towards eunuchs.

So it is a bit surprising that Poisoned Pen Press publishes not just one series featuring a eunuch detective (which you have probably heard about if you read this journal) but two!

Fellow Poisoned Pen Press author Beverle Graves Myers writes a historical mystery series, set in the declining days of the Ventian Empire, whose protagonist, Tito Amato, is a castrato opera singer.

As Beverle puts it, "Forced to sacrifice his manhood for his art, Tito remains a man of wit and loyalty with an abiding hunger for justice. The series depicts Tito and his Venice as products of their time, warts and all."

Beverle also says that one her pet peeves in historical mysteries " characters who behave like modern-day people who've put on costumes and stepped into a time machine." Mary and I share that peeve with her.

She recently asked us if we had anything to say about the subject we share, so Mary and I wrote an essay Eunuchs, Sleuths and Otherwise about eunuchs in history which can be read at Beverle's blog, Cruel Music.

You can read more about Tito and his latest adventure, The Iron Tongue of Midnight at Beverle's website.

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