Robert Chapman Series, No. 11
By Kate Sedley
Severn House - June 2002
ISBN: 072785867X - HB
Historical Crime - 1478, Bristol, England

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde,
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The eleventh Roger The Chapman mystery sees Roger back with his family (including new baby Adam) in Bristol and sweating in a hot summer. The city 's bakers are getting ready for Lammas (loaf-mass) but one baker won't be showing his work at the festival as he has been murdered. Nobody liked Jasper Fairbrother but what is his connection to a Breton spy, and who are the equally shady men who are prowling around? Roger can't resist a mystery and soon the bodies start to pile up again…

Kate Sedley has come up with the goods once again and here is another well-paced, entertaining murder mystery in the traditional manner with lots of red herrings that Agatha Christie would have enjoyed reading. Sedley can plot and describe events and surroundings with a remarkable economy of words that makes a good number of her contemporaries seem verbose. However, I would say that her forte is in her wonderful evocation of late 15th century Bristol and the lives of ordinary people. Roger, with his wife and three children, lives in a one-roomed house and Roger's narrative gives a convincing picture of what this must have been like without sounding as though he is a modern person faced with this predicament. This is a series that started good but gets better and better - when is the twelfth book coming out?

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