Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Crediton Killings
A Knights Templar Mystery (US)
aka Medieval West Country Mysteries (UK), No. 4

by Michael Jecks

      Series heroes Baldwin Furnshill, former Knight Templar and current Keeper of the King's Peace, and Simon Puttock, bailiff of Lydford, have been invited to Crediton to meet with the Bishop of Exeter. Instead, their visit is mostly spent investigating a series of crimes. First, a mercenary captain staying with his somewhat unsavory band in a local inn has had his hoard of silver "prizes" stolen. Then a pretty, flirtatious young serving girl at the same inn is found murdered -in the captain's own rooms. Surely her death was an unfortunate outcome of the theft, with the apparent perpetrator of both quickly caught. But then there are two more murders and the too-obvious attempts of a number of people to direct Baldwin and Simon's investigations, muddying the waters, until the only clear thing is that matters are not as simple as they first appeared.

Author Michael Jecks is one of the best-known names in historical mystery fiction today, writing big, thick books that can send you off for an extended visit to his chosen era. This is one of his early works, printed for the first time in paperback in the US. The pace is slow, probably a bit too slow and the writing a bit too wordy for my taste. However, that slow pace does give you plenty of time to savor what's there: subplots such as Simon and his wife's attempts to deal with the sudden loss of their longed for young son and heir, the slice-of-life detail about the internal politics of a mercenary band, or living with a butcher as a neighbor in a medieval town.

I found some things, such as the attempt to manipulate the reader through "hearing" the unnamed killer's thoughts, a bit heavy-handed, and they contributed to my figuring out most of the mystery with a lot of book left to read. However, there was at least one major surprise at the end. On the whole, I enjoyed spending time with Baldwin and Simon.

The Book

January 2006 (reprint)
Historical Mystery {early 14th C Devonshire England]
More at

The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2006
© 2006