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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Tightly woven, satsfying medieval mysteries.

For The Love of Old Bones  by Michael Jecks

I have read most of Michael Jeck's 'Knight Templar' series and find them a great addition to the Medieval Mystery genre.  'For the Love of Old Bones' does not disappoint. It is a finely honed collection of short stories revolving around deaths from some unknown source of the violence and the subsequent resolution of cause and culprit/s. Sir Baldwin de Furnshill, Keeper of the King's Peace for the county of Devonshire, is a man who seeks the truth of matters despite the often incompetence of the crown appointed coroners, who are more there because of their political connections than their shrewd abilities. Baldwin is a former Knight Templar who goes about his duties in a focused manner with great insight. He is featured in the first three stories.

A young woman is murdered vilely in an alleyway in a Devonshire town. Sir Baldwin investigates. A few twists add to the mystery.
A group of monks are attacked by brigands on the way as they carry a precious relic away from Devonshire to France. Sir Baldwin is puzzled by the fact that the Abbot is killed, the horses taken but the Abbot's heavy purse is left. Put this together with the fact that there is dissension about the task the monks have been charged to undertake and all can be seen in a different light, which may or may not have some bearing on the Abbot's death.
An armorer is found murdered and there seems to be several people who have a motive. A clever twist that reveals the truth of the lives of the less fortunate.
A forester is found dead, his loyal mastiff. By his side. There is no dearth of suspects, but how did it happen and who is the culprit? A surprise ending as the suspects are led towards the finale under the gentle yet firm questioning by Peter the almoner of the Abbey of Tavistock.
For many the plague of 1348 was a disaster of huge proportions wiping out entire villages. For others it was an opportunity. This story is somewhat different to the others, but no less fascinating.

A NetGalley ARC


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