Another Review at MyShelf.Com

House of Shadows
The Medieval Murderers, Group 3

by Mike Jecks, Susanna Gregory, Bernard Knight, Ian Morson

This is the third compendium of linked stories by “The Mediaeval Murderers,” namely Bernard Knight, Michael Jecks, Ian Morson, Philip Gooden and Susanna Gregory. As in the first two (both reviewed on this site) a cursed item causes mayhem down the centuries only this time it is an actual place--Bermondsey Priory. Back in 1114, a young monk is tempted by the pretty young ward of King Henry I and suffers a ghastly fate. Bad luck, murders, haunting and a general “reek of wrongness” means that the priory is the scene of many crimes…and now read on!

Any fans of these writers who are hoping for new novels will be pleased that they can at least read some short stories while they wait for the next book to appear. As haunted or unlucky buildings invariably make a better setting for a story than the mere premise of a cursed artifact I found myself enjoying this volume rather more than the others. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the book is seeing how the priory changes over the years, its fortunes waxing and waning. From a new building at the start of the 12th century to the 1660s and Susanna Gregory’s Thomas Chaloner, who finds a ramshackle house there instead. As with the first two books each story is fairly or very up-to-date with wherever the set of characters the author writes about was at in their last book (apart from Philip Gooden’s tale about Chaucer). So this is a book for established fans, not a taster for people looking for new authors to read. Because the stories have to take place in Bermondsey it is interesting to see how the various characters fare outside their normal surroundings and the series continues to be an attractive idea, adding a tremor of the sort of supernatural shenanigans more normally associated with a Paul Doherty novel. These always come out in the summer, so here is one to take on vacation with you.

The Book

Simon & Schuster
4 June 2007
Trade Paperback
0743295463 / 9780743295468
Historical Crime - Various Periods & Settings
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2007