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Crowner Royal
Crowner John Series Book XIII

by Bernard Knight


Crowner John is not a happy man; uprooted from his beloved Devon and sent to be the King’s own crowner, he is finding life not to his taste.  His landlady seems intent on serving him too many eels, his mistress is miles away and there is nothing to do... or is there?  A man is stabbed and thrown into the river right before his eyes, and when he finds out that it is a palace clerk who knows too much, a case seems imminent.  But this close to the king, any wrong move is liable to be interpreted as treason.

One of the best things about long-running series is that the characters become like old friends, and finding out what they are up to is part of the fun.  A good story helps as well, and also a change of scene every now and again.  Here are John, Gwyn and Thomas adrift in London with new experiences to savor (or not) and different plots to untangle.   Mr. Knight also proves himself adept at describing the characters’ existence, with its routines and stratagems to relieve boredom when there is nothing happening.  To borrow a computer gamers’ term, the story seems to be told in "real time," plunging the reader into their world.  This both adds to the verisimilitude and detracts from the action, as at times the tale seems a trifle slow.  But there is always something going on, from the characters’ forays away from London, John’s inevitable dalliance and a tussle with bureaucracy, proving that there is nothing new under the sun.  Entertaining as usual.

The Book

Simon and Schuster UK
6 April 2009
184737297X / 9781847372970
Historical Mystery / 1196 London
More at US || UK

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2009
© 2009