This is a gritty murder mystery set in the 1380s. The plot begins with Brother Athelstan being summoned to a church to investigate the murder of two men, one of whom is a priest. The church doors were all locked so how did the murderer escape? The friar also discovers that money is missing and a corpse has been stolen.
Meanwhile, a woman’s death reveals corpses in her cellar which link to the loss of treasure 18 years earlier.
Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranston the coroner need to unravel the mystery and quickly! The missing money from the church belonged to notorious gang leader The Flesher and the stolen corpse was his mother!
The story of the book is really intriguing and there are lots of discoveries to keep the reader guessing until the end.
I am afraid to admit that I didn’t really enjoy this book 🙁 I prefer novels with short chapters or at least breaks in the text which allow me to stop reading and get on with being a mum! This book is divided into parts and each is at least 30 minutes of reading with perhaps a single stopping point. This made it difficult for me to read as I often had to stop in the middle of a verrrrrrrry long scene and then try to pick up the story later.
The main characters are likeable but I didn’t make an emotional connection with them as the third person narrative is very factual and plot based with little clue to the emotions of the characters.
The descriptions are very eloquent and intricate, almost poetic in places. The scenes are described vividly and fourteenth century life can be seen in the reader’s mind’s eye.
At the moment I can’t imagine reading another of Paul Doherty’s books although Amazon reviews are very highly rated. I will try this one again in a few years when I have more time to read a chunk in one go and see if that changes my opinion.