death's a great disguiser home marliad blog
1. Marlowe's financial circumstances
Marlowe biographer Wraight finds no evidence that Marlowe was ever in need of money, "and . . . at that time had just been living at his patron's sumptuous home at Scadbury" (A.D. Wraight, In Search of Christopher Marlowe, 295).
2. Ingram's wound
Why did Frizer sustain only two minor scalp wounds though being struck by Marlowe from above and behind? Could the wounds have been "self-inflicted to corroborate a story?" (Search, 296).
3. Marlowe's wound
The wound described in the Inquest report would not necessarily have been fatal, and certainly not "instantly " according to professional medical examiners. Medical evidence confirms that a stab wound of two inches into the brain would not result in instant death, as claimed, or necessarily be fatal. And even if such was the case, it is virtually impossible to penetrate the forehead with a knife (Search, 295-296).
4. Common plea of self defense
Despite these forensic inconsistencies, Frizer was acquitted of murder by virtue of self defense, based upon his claim that the position of Skeres and Poley in the room effectively prevented his escape, and forced him to defend himself.
This was the same defense used in another case Marlowe was involved in. Thomas Watson, pled self-defense the murder of William Bradley three and a half years earlier--a three-way duel first taken up by Kit at Bradley's challenge.
Thomas Watson spent five months in jail for his role in Bradley's murder. Ingram Frizer was incarcerated for a mere three weeks before his pardon was issued by the queen.
Even more curious to this case, a royal writ was issued to the coroner stipulating for the coroner to be sure to establish Ingram's innocence.
6. Actions of the witnesses
Why didn't Poley or Skeres intervene between the alleged combatants?
All three men were longtime associates of Marlowe and his patron, Thomas Walsingham. All were seasoned spies and con-men. Thomas Walsingham himself had served as a secret agent for his cousin, Sir Francis Walsingham, who was chief of Queen Elizabeth's secret service until 1590. William Cecil (Lord Burghley) continued to make use of Sir Francis's agents, as did the Earl of Essex.
Poley, Skeres and Frizer were the best men in all of England to pull off a dead man switch on coroner Danby and his sixteen jurors, all of whom would be fooled by the substitution of another body in the name of Christopher Marlowe.
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7. Frizer's brief imprisonment and re-employment by Walsingham
Less than one month after the inquest, Ingram Frizer was free. Compared to the five months served by Thomas Watson when he killed Bradley in similar circumstances, Frizer's release was speedy. The process was undoubtedly helped along by an unusual memorandum written by Queen Elizabeth to Coroner William Danby, which confirms intervention in the Marlowe murder case at the highest level of government.
In June of 1593, one month after legally doing-in the greatest poet-dramatist of the day in a fight over money, Ingram Frizer back in the service of Tom and Audrey Walsingham. Along with Nicholas Skeres, Frizer successfully bilked a country bumpkin named Drew Woodleff to the tune of £600, with Walsingham somehow pocketing £200 in the transaction.