Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Death Of A Squire - Maureen Ash

Death Of A Squire
A Templar Knight Mystery
Maureen Ash
Berkley Prime Crime


One early morning in the late autumn of 1200 A.D., a group of poachers are hunting deer in the forest around Lincoln castle. After making their illicit kill, one of the poachers leaves the trail and discovers a human body hanging by the neck from a tree. It’s obvious from his fine clothing that he’s from a lord’s household. Although the poachers leave quickly so as not to be hanged for two deaths in one day, the squire’s body is eventually discovered.

Nicolaa de la Haye, castellan of the castle and wife of sheriff Gerard Camville requests the aid of Templar Knight Bascot de Marins in the matter. The squire was attached to the house of William Camville, Gerard’s brother. This is a particularly sticky problem at the moment, since King John and the King of Scotland will be arriving for a meeting at Lincoln Castle shortly. Bascot, despite sustaining terrible injuries as a prisoner of the Saracens in the Holy Land, has proven himself to be most competent in this sort of investigation. And, when his servant, the mute Italian boy Gianni, goes missing, Bascot has a very personal stake in the outcome.

This is the second in this engrossing series, following THE ALEHOUSE MURDERS. It takes place mere months after the first book; so many of the characters make welcome return appearances. Although Bascot seems surprised by his distress at Gianni’s disappearance, anyone who has read the first book will immediately know that he’s quite fond of the boy. The author takes great care to detail the everyday life of the time, but weaves these details through the narrative in a very natural way. The social structure, the class differences, and daily life in a keep are very much a part of the mystery, and readers will feel that they’ve made a trip back through time to witness these events.

Rating: 8
January 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21959-1 (paperback)


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