Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Holy Vengeance- Maureen Ash's fine outing!

In the newest Templar Knight Mystery, Bascot de Marins is called to investigate when a young woman is killed and villagers suspect evil forces are to blame.

 Medieval Lincoln is brought to life for me in the person of Nicolaa de la Haye who was the Castellan of Lincoln Castle for 30 years. It is a superb and strong series which I snatch up whenever one comes along.

Bascot de Marins and his young protégé Gianni deliver quite well, but I thought the relationship between Roget and the Perfumer really hit a high note.

It was a complex plot and the supernatural elements and their resolution made the book even more exciting. I thought the Templars riding in war apparel to support the Bishop and the faithful in the town was a tremendous touch that I could visualize.

Recommended for all Medieval and medieval mystery fans

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Land of Shadows- A Medieval Mystery- Priscilla Royal

"A royal birth, a nobleman s death, a scarlet woman's murder In March, 1279, Edward I takes a break from hammering the Welsh and bearing down on England's Jews to vacation in Gloucestershire. The royal party breaks the journey at Woodstock Manor. And there one life begins as Queen Eleanor labors to birth a new daughter, and one draws to an end when apoplexy fells Baron Adam Wynethorpe."

Priscilla Royal's Medieval mysteries are many layered and complex and this one is no exception. Prioress Eleanor, Baron Adam's daughter with her entourage which includes Sister Anne and Brother Thomas are at Woodstock at her father's deathbed. Enter her brother Hugh and his son Richard who get enmeshed with a series of murders, involving the Jewish community and members of the King's household knights.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and it is a series so pay attention to spoiler alert.

Always a super read with mystery and injustice entwined for the principals to unravel. Recommended for all- 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The King's Favourite - Marjorie Bowen ~ Recently reissued

I received this book from NetGalley for a fair review and see that it will be archived almost immediately. A republished book which needs a few editing corrections but essentially is a good read.I appreciate being able to read this book for NetGalley and perhaps 3.5 Stars will work for it, although I cannot do that here.

I actually knew nothing about Frances Howard and at first thought that SHE was "The King's Favorite" so I need to be even more careful with book choices. The book cover at Endeavor Press is nice but quite different than this one at Goodreads so I will use another picture for my blog.

Was Frances guilty?  Guilt of something surely but perhaps not murder? She was so very YOUNG after all! She was surely manipulated by a mother who used her for her own purposes and had her own histrionic issues. Frances was a child who was not only encouraged in, at least using her looks and personal attributes for personal and family gain, but in a liberated fashion. 

I was sorry for her and still unsure about what was or was not done to all of these people. Prince Henry's death? Goodness..for that I must read further books, although it seems to have been from Typhoid..

They had a daughter Anne who was born when her parents were imprisoned and who later married William Russell Earl of Bedford and they had 7 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood.

I enjoyed the book and do recommend to those who like this period, which surely is  underrepresented in fiction.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Silence of Stones- Jeri Westerson ~ Medieval Noir #8 - Preorder this one now!

"London, 1388. When the mythical Stone of Destiny is stolen from the throne of England in Westminster Abbey, Crispin Guest, the Tracker, witnesses the dramatic disappearance for himself"

My first Crispin Guest and here it is book #8. Everyone else already knows Crispin and Jack,but in I jump with plenty of help from the author's fine afterword. 

Crispin had a lot to deal with, people were crawling out of the woodwork,literally wanting to help him (for a price of course) or for him to help them. He had an astonishing amount of acquaintances and friends!

Guess who one of them was? Katherine Swynford..what a treat! She is a favorite of mine and conducted herself with her usual elegance (if a bit sneaky to King Richard)

Speaking of King Richard, Crispin's apprentice Jack ends up having a bit more than a nodding acquaintanceship with his queen. She calls him..well you need to read about it yourself.. 

You can start with  Book #1 and preorder this one now. Enjoy!

Skin Like Silver- A Tom Harper Mystery - Chris Nickson ~ Always a Winner!

"Leeds, England. October, 1891. A fire during the night destroys half the railway station. The next day a woman's s body is found in the rubble."

An intricately complex mystery that is also completely intriguing and engrossing. Chris Nickson's characters have so much depth and presence that they seem to be alive. 

Tom Harper's world was gritty, dangerous and rife with political intrigue. More than the usual cast of suspects commit an astonishing amount of murders. Catherine Carr did not die in the fire but who killed her and why? 

Harper's wife Annabelle belonged to the same Suffragist Society as the murdered Catherine,but were the negative sexist politics to blame? Was the killer in the lineup of haters who jeered the women as they went into the lecture hall?

Catherine's brother escapes from the insane asylum and begins a reign of terror in Leeds. He has sympathetic supporters at first until the violence gets out of hand. 

Sgt. Billy Reed is recruited from the Fire Brigade because Catherine's brother is also an Afghanistan veteran trained in tracking and shooting. The Sergeant, now with a stable homelife, becomes torn between returning to the police force or returning to an investigator job with the Fire Brigade.

The major historical facts were accurate, as always, including a fire at the New Station in Leeds at that same year.A coroner's case involving a dead baby also was factual,as was the first electric tram in Leeds.

I love the period detail as well as the historical facts that the crime aspects of these stories are intertwine with. This 3rd Victorian Police Procedural is an extremely fine work and I heartily recommend it to all who appreciate historical mysteries

A Fatal Inheritance, A Sixteenth Century Burren Mystery ~ Cora Harrison ~ Masterful!

"In life, Clodagh O Lochlainn had been a disgrace to her clan, tormenting her former priestly lover, jeering at her husband, robbing her relatives.. Abandoning preparations for the celebration of her fiftieth birthday, Mara, Brehon of the Burren, takes up the task of solving the murder"

Satisfyingly complicated,with a poignancy that was arresting, a very fine tale by a talented author. Mara is a favorite character and this period in time is pivotal for many reasons.

English law was at odds with but parallel with Brehon law, in this place especially. Mara herself weighs the two constantly to see which is fairer or more humane. So very telling that in this case Mara is thinking about Thomas More's book Utopia, for more than one reason.

Education of all eventually plays a place in the dispensing of the verdicts fines. The reader can clearly see why Mara is thinking about which children should be educated and how as she watches Fachtnan with his daughter Orla.

The story ends with Mara thinking that this Utopian educational facility would be a memorial to Turlough Donn O'Brien someday.

To weave a satisfactory mystery in with the history of the O'Davoren clan of law scholars and the O'Briens of Thomand,Corcomroe and the Burren is masterful indeed. I recommend you start at the beginning of this fine series.Cora Harrison's historical detail and her perspective on the period never fails and the characters are vivid and memorable

The pre-order link is up for this one so put it on your Christmas Wish list. 

Ruins of the O'Davoren law school at Cahermacnaghten

Ballinalacken Castle

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Vigil of Spies - Book Ten - Candace Robb ~ 5 stars and then some!

"Archbishop Thoresby of York,lies dying in his bed and agrees to a visit from Joan, Princess of Wales. His captain of the guard, Owen Archer,has no doubt that trouble will follow." 

Yes,all of that happened and then some. Owen was befriended by none other than Geoffrey Chaucer who helps him solve several mysteries. 
A very fine look at these important historical personages, especially Princess Joan.

The parts that were perhaps fictional were very delightful also, including previous relationships. So enjoyable to have all these exciting people folded into one novel. Hoping so that there is yet another book to come, Owen is not done yet by any means.Recommended to all!