The Idylls of the Queen
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The Idylls of the Queen

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The Idylls of the Queen is set in the Great Britain of King Arthur, as portrayed by Sir Thomas Malory's classic Le Morte D'Arthur; as specifically stated by the author, no attempt is made at depicting with historical accuracy the time of the actual King Arthur. It expands an incident in Malory, in which the Queen is accused of murder, into a complex mystery novel mingling...more
Mass Market Paperback, 341 pages
Published September 1st 1985 by Berkley (first published 1982)
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Unlike most contemporary Arthurian literature, which tends to borrow a framework and set of characters (much, in fact, as medieval writers did), Karr sticks closely to Malory's account but fills in details and backstory to create a whole new approach. She begins with a fairly minor tale from Le Morte D'Arthur: a knight, Sir Patrise, dies while at a small dinner given by the queen. His cousin accuses her of poisoning Patrise, and declares that he will prove this by fighting the champion of her ch...more
I really loved reading Idylls of the Queen. It took me a while to get into, because the more flippant stories of Camelot are much less my thing, but at its heart the story loved the older tellings of the story, which helped (you can tell by the fact that Phyllis Ann Karr chose an epigraph for each chapter from Malory). It was fun playing spot-the-source, too.

Kay's narrative voice is delightful, and the mystery is fun, too. It helps if you have a good knowledge of Malory, both to follow the plot...more
The Idylls of the Queen is one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, Arthurian novel. Undoubtably this is due to the fact that it is told from the point of view of Sir Kay, whom I always felt sorry for (it's a elder sibling thing). Karr, however, does know the medieval tradition upon which she is drawing. If you have read the old Arthurian stories (de Troyes, Malory and so on) there are wonderful gems in the off hand comments that some characters make. If you haven't read any of the Arth...more
Haven't read this book since it came out in 1982. WOW! It is even better than I remember it. If you are a fan of the old Malory tales of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table then you will definitely eat this up!
PAK takes details from Le Morte d'Arthur and weaves them into a medieval whodunit. Sir Kay, the third-rate hero and maybe second-rate villain as well as the King's stepbrother, reveals unknown depths as he tries to save the Queen from the flames when she is accused of poisoning a you...more
Here's an odd thing: an Arthurian murder mystery. It's based on an incident from Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, the death of Sir Patrise, who dies after eating a poisoned apple at Queen Guenevere's dinner table. When Guenevere is accused of the crime, the loyal seneschal, Sir Kay, sets out to prove her innocence (with Mordred as his companion, of all people).

The investigation bogs down a little into a series of episodes with the knights and ladies visited by Kay and Mordred, but it's st...more
This is really more "A Tale of Sir Kay & His Never-ending Snark", but I suppose Guenevere's name sells more books. I loved Kay & his banter with Mordred, and the book was a light, entertaining read throughout. Excellent voice & nice plotting, even if you might already know some of what gets revealed. (Though you can't necessarily predict the who-dunnit.)
In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated arthurian retellings out there.

"Idylls of the Queen" is a murder mystery novel which tells the story of the poisoned apple in Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur". If you've read Malory then the outcome of this book won't surprise you but "Idylls of the Queen" still makes an interesting read.

Phyllis Ann Karr manages to write her characters believable: Sir Kay (who is the narrator of the story) sarcasm is pure gold, Mordred's bitterness and desperation i...more
Brenda Clough
For the Arthurian fan this is truly a delightful novel. Tailored to fit exactly into the interstices of Malory's MORT DE ARTHUR, it combines all the King Arthur characters with a vivid medieval setting and a close adherence to the chivalric ethos. A small tour-de-force that should be much better known.
A different take on the adventure of the poisoned fruit, Idylls Of The Queen follows Sirs Kay and Mordred as they try to clear Guenevere's name.

Idylls is an nice little story, but one that can only be recommended to King Arthur buffs. One gets the sense that the detective work is only a vehicle for Karr to explore how Camelot would appear to those who keep it running. From that viewpoint, the Siege Perilous isn't so much an awe-inspiring magical object as it is a useless hunk of wood, used only...more
Nov 13, 2011 Chrissy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist, arthurian
I hear Karr paints a heartbreaking picture of Mordred, ergo my love for him means I must read this!
Murder mystery with the Arthurian legend. Not being as well versed in the myths, I had trouble keeping all the families and feuds straight. Fair book overall. Really loses speed after visiting Morgan Le Fay. The payoff scene with the sons of Lot is more satisfying than the main mystery.
Idylls of the Queen is a mystery set during the end of King Arthur's reign. The narrator is Sir Kay the Seneschal, and I thought Karr did a wonderful job depicting his loyal but understandably bitter personality. I enjoyed most of the portrayals in this book, especially of Mordred and Nimue.
Arthurian murder mystery, narrated by Sir Kay, who is in love with Guenevere; nicely done unreliable narrator (within strict and easily parseable limits), decent Mordred.
Lori Micho
Probably one of the worst books I've ever read. It was chosen by my bookclub and I was the only one who even finished it. Not sure why I bothered!
I really enjoyed this book. True to Mallory but written for a modern audience. A must for any fans of the Arthurian legends.
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Phyllis Ann Karr, born July 25, 1944, is an American author of fantasy, romances, mysteries, and non-fiction. She is best known for her "Frostflower and Thorn" series and Matter of Britain works.
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