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Dispensation of Death
A Knights Templar Mystery, book # 24

by Michael Jecks

      Sir Baldwin de Furnshill an MP? Nobody thinks him less suitable for the post than Baldwin himself, but he has not had any say in the matter. Nor has he had any say in having to come up to London at a time when Sir Hugh le Despenser rules the roost, holding sway over the ineffectual King Edward II. Baldwin and Simon soon find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery, and are commanded by the king to find out whodunit. One of Queen Isabella’s ladies-in-waiting has been murdered, and it looks as though the assassin is also dead - but who killed the killer, and why?

I do love a historical mystery which has plenty of real history in it as well as a good crime to solve. Not just a well described background (although this is essential) but there must be some genuine schoolroom history being made while the sleuths hunt for clues. King Edward is a scant two years away from being murdered (I expect Jecks to write something impressive in a couple of books’ time) and the country is in the grip of a reign of terror. Jecks manages to convey a tangible sense of fear in this book (the twenty fourth), and it is always good to see his duo taken out of Devon and coping somewhere else.

Reading this dark tale of court intrigue and deadly doings, it is almost impossible to recall its cozy beginnings as another series on the Cadfael bandwagon. It has gone through several styles since then before truly finding its feet, and is now a series to be reckoned with and something to look forward to. But, as usual, there are inconsistencies, and I confess to being baffled why Baldwin - whom we know possesses some dressy clothes - goes to see the King in scruffy old garments. But this minor detail aside, this is a compelling tale and shows that Jecks is one writer who gets better and better. The ending shows that the next book is going to be another enjoyable and varied tale.

The Book

Hodder Headline
June 14, 2007
Historical Crime [1325 London, UK]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2006