I have two murders to write tonight. One is historically attested (the assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March 44 BC) in all of its journalistic particulars (who-what-when-why-where-and-how). The other may have been death from natural causes, though not inconvenient politically for the one who’s suspected in giving nature a little nudge. That’s the death, in August 44 BC, of Cleopatra’s second brother-consort, Ptolemy XIV, at age fifteen.
I actually like the notion, suggested by some historians, that he had been plotting with the exiled sister Arsinoe to overthrow Cleopatra, call Arsinoe back from her exile in Ephesus, and rule together. Once Cleopatra knew this to be the case, she would have defaulted to the political option of the Ptolemaic dynasty for several centuries before her: sibling assassination. (As opposed to parent-child assassination–in either direction–or husband-wife assassination–ditto.)
Writing POV someone who’s about to whack her brother, or arrange same in cold blood, is really interesting, shall we say. I haven’t written a protagonist with this much political power before.
With power comes responsibility (that’s the cliche version) —
and with power comes (tautologically) the power to get things done, and one face of that is political murder. It’s simple, elegant, and at the top of the social structure one is beyond the law because above it.
Not that I approve, mind you, but it’s making the temptation understandable.